End of Trail marker a sign of confusion for some in Tay

·5 min read

Non-residents can walk the trail in a Tay private development but only if they do so respectfully.

Mike Knarr, a resident of Harbour Estates in Port McNicoll, said he was shocked to see bold signs at the entrance to the private neighbourhood at the intersection of Talbot Street and First Avenue.

The signs, he added, are a subject of discussion at the annual general meeting for the development's board of directors.

"The signs that are there and when you take them collectively there might be the potential that we're confusing the public when it comes to the messages on those signs," said Knarr, who has been a resident of the neighbourhood since 2010.

So the questions at this month's meeting will look at what the signs are trying to achieve and if they are the most appropriate way of achieving it, he said.

Knarr said since he isn't a board member; he is only speculating as to why the signs went up in the first place.

"Routinely, people would enter the neighbourhood, park at the end of Dock Lane and park there to have lunch, walk around, throw their garbage or walk their dog and let it defacate there," he said, adding it's to deter vehicular traffic from roaming the streets of the development.

"We're trying to curtail that activity. I think everybody would appreciate that. We should all respect each other's neighbourhoods."

Knarr said he routinely picks up coffee cups, cigarette butts, chip bags, beer and pop cans on his walks around the neighbourhood with his dog.

"Those who walk the trail and stay on the trail, and I think it's wonderful if we can all enjoy that as a community, but some of those users don't pick up their dog poop," he said. "It's disrespectful."

The trail Knarr referred to is a paved sidewalk next to the entrance to the neighbourhood on Dock Lane.

"It's a paved trail that goes from First Avenue to Swan Lane and, at that point, there's a sign that indicates the end of trail," he said. "That is the only public access through the neighbourhood. It is that trail and no boardwalk."

Beyond that point, Knarr said, it's a private road and no different than any other private roads anywhere.

"It is a private development with limited access to owners and invited guests," he said.

Gordon Almadi, president of the board, explained the rationale behind the signs.

"This entirely is a completely private neighbourhood," he said. "Not because we chose it that way, that's how the site plan was approved in the first place. It was sold to residents that this is a private neighbourhood. The concept of having a gated community was to keep vehicles out, not people. We wanted to restrict traffic."

There's a piece of Tay Trail that runs into the subdivision.

"But to-date, Tay Township has refused to supply any form of signage to indicate that the trail goes through there and can be used by anyone, even those who don't live there," he said. "Nobody here has ever complained about anybody that walks the trail. We have live surveillance here and can show you footage of people using the trail."

What the residents and board is concerned about is the vehicular traffic that comes into the neighbourhood.

"We have on average of 50 cars coming in, driving up to the water and sitting there to have their lunch or whatever," said Almadi. "Or they just drive into the neighbourhood to explore it. They ignore all the signs we've posted along the way."

Years ago, Almadi said, there was a temporary gate at the subdivision entrance, which also has a guard house structure.

"Tay Township took the position to say we don't want you to be gated any longer," he said, adding that's not the only issue the development board has with the township.

"Our development is far from complete; the residents are rather concerned about the fact that the site plan still sits incomplete," said Almadi. "We were always able to rely on the fact that the township was sitting on our bond to guarantee the completion of the development."

But despite dozens of letters to the township asking for the performance schedule, he said, the township has refused to provide anything to justify the return of the bulk of the bond money posted by the developer, Skyline.

The township's comment on the matter to MidlandToday didn't provide much clarity.

"The township is currently not in a position to comment in detail on this matter," said Daryl O'Shea, general manager, corporate services. "With the recent retirement of the staff member responsible for this development file, we are currently working on getting up-to-speed on the status of this development file to determine what involvement of the Township would be appropriate at this time."

He added that the municipality has received correspondence from Simcoe Vacant Land Condominium Corporation No. 340 on the matter and is looking forward to working with them to address concerns.

Coun. Paul Raymond, who had brought up the matter at a council meeting, said he is also trying to gain a better understanding of the issue.

"I have been discussing with one of the residents there about the signage," he said. "We're going to be setting up a meeting to try and see if we can't determine exactly what the issues are and start working towards some kind of resolution. There's a lot I don't know, so I need to qualify what it is that the township can do to make things better."

Knarr is hoping for a positive resolution.

"We love the community and the area," he said. "Hopefully, everybody will get along and we haven't presented an offensive position to others in our community."

Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com