Monday, December 07, 2009

east mountain trail trouble

Trail Loop fight heads to tribunal

STONEY CREEK — Peko Roic argues that putting asphalt along the Mountain Brow behind his home isn’t the right way to compensate for putting a highway down the Red Hill Valley.

He leads a small group trying to stop the City of Hamilton and Hamilton Conservation Authority from building the first phase of the East Mountain Trail Loop, intended to help replace 70 hectares of green space lost to construction of the Red Hill Valley Parkway.

Roic thought the three-metre-wide trail would follow the Bruce Trail, which runs close to the brow, not through woods further south, skirting his property on Ashbury Lane, off Paramount Drive west of Felker’s Falls.

He feels the trail will lead to loss of privacy, late-night noise and vandalism.

“What we are opposed to the most is that it’s going to be asphalt,” he said in an interview. “If the surface was granular, we wouldn’t necessarily have a problem with that.”

The dispute is important because construction of the 10-kilometre, multimillion-dollar, multi-purpose trail was to have started this fall. It’s now stalled until the matter is settled.

The homeowners are using a wrinkle in the law to appeal a development permit issued to the city by the Niagara Escarpment Commission for portions of the trail through Paramount Park and at the top of Red Hill Valley, even though the section past their homes is owned by the conservation authority.

“”It makes dealing with this case awkward,” says commission planner Martin Killian, explaining that municipalities need a permit to build trails on escarpment land, while conservation authorities are exempt.

Sandy Bell, manager of design and development for the authority, said last week it was “making adjustments to the alignment to bring neighbours on side,” but Roic said no deal was reached at a Wednesday-night meeting.

The parties are to appear before Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the council chambers at the Stoney Creek Municipal Service Centre, 777 Hwy. 8, to continue a preliminary hearing that began in October. If the matter isn’t resolved, a full hearing is scheduled to begin Jan. 19.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The development of the East Mountain Trail Loop has been ongoing for more than 4 years now with plenty of media coverage and, plenty of opportunities for public input. This last-minute objection is the work of small-minded individuals whose logic is not only flawed, but whose attitude is detrimental to the community's best interest.

They claim the trail will cause vandalism, late-night noise and loss of privacy, but only if it is paved. Aparently gravel has some magic power to keep these things at bay.

I can say with reasonable certainty that the paving of the trail is to provide acccess to all users - especially those with physical disabilities. The trail will act as a hub, connecting the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail to the Red Hill Valley Trail (once the QEW pedestrian bridge is complete sometime in the next year or so)to the Bruce Trail, Trans-Canada Trail, Escarpment Trail, and the Chippawa Rail Trail.

Even though not all of those trails may be unilaterally accessible, the new trail loop allows access to users of all ages and abilities a full 10 kilometres to engage in healthy acitivities through some of the East End's most beautiful natural areas, where there was no access before.

These people have had their chance to voice their objections. Let's not let them stand in the way of something good for the community residents and its visitors.