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New hiking trail in works for Wellesley

Plans to develop a new walking trail in Wellesley were approved by township councillors this week, allowing the Wellesley Trail Association to file a funding application.

Murray Bremner of the WTA attended council Tuesday night to discuss the purpose of the project, the success of past projects by the group, and the type of support that they would need from the township in order to move forward.

Proposed trail location
Proposed trail location

“This is not just a trail for hiking enthusiasts to walk on, but for the general good of the community,” he said.

The WTA has successfully introduced two trails over the past number of years. The first is the Mill Pond Trail, established in 1999, which was made entirely using community contributions and donations in kind. Next came the Community Centre trail in 2004, which was also supported by the community through in-kind donations, but this one was built primarily with a $22,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Now, the group intends to approach the provincial agency again, this time requesting funds to build a trail that would be an extension of Molesworth Street and would travel northward across the Campbell drain, north of the new subdivision, and north of Wellesley Public School, through a pasture field and into Bast Bush.

Sections of the trail will be on private property, to which homeowners have agreed, pending the township providing insurance coverage for the area. The agreement with property owners is based on provisions of insurance, proper signage, and understanding of the responsibilities of the parties involved. With existing trails, the township provides insurance coverage and the WTA is responsible for maintaining the trails and keeping them clean and safe.

The trail would be for limited use, meaning not for use by horses or motorized vehicles, and would include a bridge; a cost the committee hopes will be covered by a Trillium grant.

“Getting the funding for the bridge will likely be our biggest challenge,” said Bremner. “But we have until November to draft the application and we can get a start on that now with township’s approval.”

If all goes well with the application, the WTA plans to start building the trail next spring.

“What’s nice about it is that it’s so close to the school,” Bremner told council. “I would hope that the school kids could do a field trip or two. There are some really exciting possibilities.”

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