Township responds to residents’ recreation concerns

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by Brandon Mayer

Some residents have raised concerns to the Times about a lack of recreational amenities that are easily accessible from their town.

A primary concern is that new residents in the urban areas – especially those with children – feel there is a lack of recreation opportunities without driving to a destination outside of town.

This creates issues, in particular for families who do not own vehicles, or require equip-ment such as a bike rack for their vehicle.

One resident raised the issue of a walking and biking trail between Winchester and Chesterville – along Gypsy Lane – which was rumoured to be slated for development
and beautification, only to have the project shut down.

Calvin Pol, the Director of Planning, Building, and Enforcement for the Township of North Dundas, was able to provide some clarification when contacted by the Times.

“A trail of sorts was created when the Township connected the water systems between Chesterville and Winchester,” Calvin wrote. “Parts of the unopened sections of Gray Road and Gypsy Lane were put into gravel as part of the project, and are used as a trail by
ATVs, snowmobiles, and pedestrians.”

In correspondence, Calvin was able to point to other recreational amenities in
North Dundas that residents can access.

For example, the Township worked with South Nation Conservation (SNC) in 2018 and 2019 to establish the Oschmann Forest trail in Ormond. The Oschmann Forest Conservation Area is a converted maple farm, home of SNC’s Maple Syrup Education Program and featuring 1.2 km of education-filled nature trails.

Another available recreational amenity is the Oak Valley Pioneer Park in Win-
chester Springs, which boasts 10 acres of land that can be
used for walking, fishing, geocaching, and more.

Other newer projects include new parkland in South Mountain acquired by the Township
in 2016, and a new passive park in Hallville for which Council authorized a transfer
to SNC just a few monthsago, in June.

Significant effort goes into planning recreational amenities in a municipality, and Council has to operate within the confines of the law.

For example, when developers buy land to create a new subdivision, the municipality can take a portion ofthe land to use for parks and other recreational purposes, but this is limited to 5% of the land. In other words, Township officials do not have an unlimited power to develop parkland wherever they please.

Residents looking for more things to do in their local area should visit the Township of North Dundas website at www.northdundas.com/community-recreation/attractions.

 

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