Midland active transportation group wants more trails

·3 min read

A municipal advisory committee is actively lobbying the Town of Midland to increase its nature trail offerings.

"It's just something I thought of during the pandemic when people have to go outside and work out and walk," said committee member Frieda Baldwin, talking about the off-shoots on the Mid-Pen Trail that connects Harbourview Drive to Murray Road. "It's really, really beautiful and I know the mountain bike trail is trying to get a connection to get this out to Vindin (Street).

"I'd like to create some additional trails so people can see and enjoy them," she said. "I think the members of the Midland Ganaraska Hiking Trail could help create those trails. We do have insurance for that if necessary, so does the Simcoe County Mountain Bike Club if they want to to use those trails."

Mitch Sobil, acting manager of engineering, said the mountain bike club reached out to staff directly to set up the trail.

"We would follow a similar process with this one," he said. "If you have insurance and all, good stuff, I can't see us not following procedure."

The committee members also talked about Vindin Trail improvements and the Pollinator Pathway project on Hugel Avenue and Cook Drive.

Baldwin pointed out that there is $25,000 in the budget, but the project's cost were tabbed at $300,000.

"Are we short or are we going to do a little bit of work?" she asked.

Sobil said the plan is to do a little bit of work.

"That $300,000 in the master plan is for a permanent extravagant walkway," he explained. "I think that is still the ultimate goal. This year, the $25,000 is to do some minor grading adjustments and some tree planting and do a limestone screening path for what's already there to make it fully accessible."

Baldwin inquired about the need for a paved trail, noting 'who is asking for the Cadillac of trails?"

Sobil said that was the preferred option identified in the Transportation Master Plan.

The committee then hopped onto the issue of crosswalk locations as identified in the plan, even though the topic wasn't on their agenda for the day.

The suggestion was to alter the location of one of the three crosswalks the town is set to work on this year. The transportation plan recommends that a crossing guard be placed at Elizabeth and William Streets. However, the committee is thinking of proposing to council and staff that a hybrid beacon crosswalk be put in at Elizabeth and William Streets, instead of the one at Hugel Avenue and William Street.

Committee member Howie Major took the discussion beyond just that crosswalk.

"The one on Manly (Street) and Bayshore (Drive)," he asked, "is the provincial government paying for that? Why should we pay for the crosswalk for tourists to go to the dock?"

Coun. Jon Main explained that it could have been part of a site-plan agreement when Chigamik Community Health Centre and Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care.

"I think it's difficult to peg infrastructure upgrades to adjacent sites after the fact," he said. "If you do it as part of the site plan, that's when you can add infrastructure improvements. It's difficult after the fact to call up Chigamik and Waypoint. You can ask them if they'd be kind enough to donate, but we all know as provincial organizations they have various levels of funding."

Baldwin was also concerned about dog-walking etiquette on trails.

"If bylaw officers could do a blitz here and there to educate people and ask them if they have doggy bags and give them a warning if they don't?" she said.

Committee decided that a motion could be approved at the next meeting and be sent to council to review and approve.

Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com