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Wellesley sets priority areas for trail improvements in township

Photo Credit:Total Shape

Featured Image Credit: Total Shape

Already known for its abundant trail system, the Township of Wellesley wants to expand its offerings.

To that end, councillors this week adopted six key priorities for future improvements as recommended by the Wellesley Trails and Active Transportation Advisory Committee, an official committee of council.

The improvements proposed by the trails committee range from the minor and affordable to larger projects that the committee noted in their report to council, “may require additional funding beyond the annual budgeted amounts.”

Smaller projects that the township will prioritize include installing a rest area along Kissing Bridge Trail (KBT) at the intersection of Posey Line, for instance.

It’s an infrequently travelled spot, the committee noted, but given that the KBT forms a section of the 127-kilometre Guelph to Goderich Rail Trail, proper rest spots were needed at regular intervals. That could mean installing a simple bench, but alternatives could include a wall or a large flat boulder.

“The first thing that could be done is to install that rest area at Posey Line,” said Coun. Peter van der Maas.

Township staff agreed, noting there were still funds in the 2017 budget available to make the improvement.

Council also decided to work with developers in the township to add to the trail infrastructure in the area.

One such project being prioritized is the creation of a 445-metre trail leading west off Herrgott Road along the partially constructed Temperance Road, straight to the edge of Conestogo River. A development project being proposed in the area would already require the developers to make improvement to Temperance Rd., giving the township the opportunity to work with the developer to create the trail.

Two other developments in Wellesley village can be leveraged to make improvements to the area’s trails, noted the committee report. A project for 17 new homes on Gerber Road can also let the township create a new trail linking Lawrence Street to Nafziger Road. Construction at the intersection of Greenwood Hill Road and Ferris Drive can likewise provide the opportunity to add to the Greenwood Hill Road Trail from Queens Bush Road to Gerber Meadows Drive.

Some of the larger, more costly priorities are to repair Bridge No. 6 on Chalmers-Forest Road to open it up to pedestrians and cyclists. The area around the bridge itself is scenic, says the committee, while the path could then be included in a larger, 19-km route extending out of Wellesley around Perth Line and back along Deborah Glaister Line.

Finally, the committee has advised that trails be included along the 40-acre plot of land purchased by the township at the corner of Hutchinson and Queens Bush in Wellesley village. The site was bought by the township with the intention of eventually converting it into parkland. The township has yet to commit to a formal plan for the lot, but a conceptual drawing produced by students at the Fanshawe College in London shows extensive woodlots that could be used for future trails.

“These lands, and particularly the woodlot on site, are an ideal location for recreational trails. The committee is recommending that trails be located within the woodlot as soon as possible,” reads the report.

Mayor Joe Nowak was supportive of the recommendations, but added that he was also keen to see that people get to know about these trails and make use of them.

“I’m hoping at some point that the committee will come up with some ideas on how they can promote some of these [trails],” he said.

Though the projects have been identified as priorities, there is no timeline for when they might be completed. The trail committee said that some projects would cost more than the $20,000 budgeted for trails the past two years, and would require additional funds to be implemented.

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