Tay mayor persists in pursuit of Tay Trail clearing for residents

·3 min read

Rejection didn't deter Mayor Ted Walker from bringing back a trail snow-clearing request to the table.

He had been in support of a resident's request to clear the trail along 1st Avenue, but when that ask was shot down, Walker came back with a second option.

"I would like to ask council once again to consider providing, in each (settlement) area, a section of groomed or packed-down or cleared path or strip for people to walk on," he said at a recent council meeting. "As I mentioned at committee, I've had a lot of people, particularly seniors asking me about this. They're here and they're looking for something to be able to go out and get some exercise during winter months."

Walker suggested that if council concurs, staff should be given direction to determine the locations and length of the trail since it goes through Victoria Harbour, Waubaushene and Port McNicoll, as well as how to best maintain the sections to be opened.

Coun. Sandy Talbot was quick to offer support.

"I think we really need to allow people some chance to get out of the house and get some exercise," she said. "We're in the red zone and God only knows what will happen next. Our communities have asked for this and if we can just open the box a little bit, I support your thoughts on this."

Coun. Paul Raymond also got behind the request.

"I support this endeavour as well," he said. "I found out that the Town of Penetanguishene will be working with the Georgian Bay Snowriders to work in their park and Midland has been asked to do something similar at Little Lake Park. We need a healthy residential base. At the end of the day, trails are built on tax money and we should allow them to get out and get some exercise."

Coun. Mary Warnock said she liked the idea, but would want staff to look at sections between gateways on the trail so the snowmobiles could stay off.

But Coun. Barry Norris couldn't see why everyone was pushing for making sections of the trail available.

"We're clearing sidewalks in settlement areas and those are more than enough for people to use," he said. "I think a lot of people are utilizing the trails for cross-county skiing and snowshoeing and that was the original intent."

Also in Norris' corner was Coun. Jeff Bumstead.

"I can't support it at this time based on the staff recommendation and the added staff time to maintain trail," he said.

Walker said the township is set to receive an additional $67,000 under the Safe Restart Program that could help with any extra expense related to this project.

In the end, a majority of council members voted in favour of having staff look into the possibility of opening and maintaining sections of the Tay Trail in the three settlement areas.

Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com