December 10,2020

 Hi Members,

Below is GHTC ”official board submission” to the Guelph Master Trails Plan Update .

We had an opportunity to talk directly with city staff about it on Tuesday night at a “key stakeholders zoom meeting” that the city hosted.

Frankly some of our priorities are beyond the scope of the city’s jurisdiction. However we felt it important to lay out for the city where the club’s focus, as far as trail development, was directed. Having said that there are routes  where our priorities  and the city’s align.

Our major thrust with the city is that Guelph Hiking Trail Club wants to be an operational partner in developing and maintaining the city’s tertiary trail system.

The city seems to want that, but a tendency toward risk aversion means they are focusing on everything that can go wrong with such an arrangement instead of everything that can go right!

If you find anything in our document that resonates with you please reinforce it by telling the city. The fastest and easiest way to do this is to e-mail Tiffany.Hanna@guelph.ca directly.

If you have some other ideas or supportive landowner leads please let us know.

Wishing you the best for the holidays from your board. We look forward to reacquainting with you all in a more organized fashion sometime next year,

 See you on the trails,

John Fisher (President GHTC).

GHTC submission to Guelph Trails Master Plan

OFFICIAL BOARD SUBMISSION TO THE GUELPH TRAILS MASTER PLAN UPDATE. DECEMBER 8TH 2020

 GHTC BELIEFS AND MISSION

1)    GHTC wants to provide Guelph citizens better access to the club’s network of trails by providing direct links from city trails and increasing the club’s presence in Guelph through the installation and management of city approved tertiary recreational trails.

2)    GHTC believes they can assist in making major additions to the city’s tertiary recreational trail inventory without adding operational costs to the city or using tax payer dollars.
3)    GHTC wants “operational responsibility” for trail management, it is not satisfied with a purely advocacy role.
4)    GHTC believes EIS requirements that are mandated by the OP and City policy and which restrain development of the city of Guelph trail network should not be required for tertiary (single track dirt) footpaths. These trails are not as impactful as the 3 m wide trails created by the City, and are not required by the Provincial Policy Statement, intended to control 3m type multi use paths
5)    GHTC seeks an active partnership with the city but does not depend on, or plan to monopolise city resources in accomplishing agreed trail development goals.
6)    Guelph  Hiking Trail Club established new partnership agreements with Armtec,(Rapids Side Trail), the University of Guelph (extension of Radial Line Trail from Victoria Rd. to Gordon St and connecting links to the Arboretum trail network) and the Dept. of Water Services in 2020.These trails are well used and trail users have expressed huge appreciation to GHTC for the club’s trail management and trail improvements.
7)    Guelph Hiking Trail Club made many of the improvements through advertised work parties using member volunteers. Participants tell us they  gain a sense of ownership and responsibility by being a part of the installation and maintenance of the new trails.
8)    GHTC believes the Guelph trail system should evolve. Perfect solutions and ultimate city goals should not deprive the majority of citizens trail use opportunities while the city plans and funds for those solutions in the meantime. At the same time GHTC can provide a bridge between private and public properties to add to a contiguous city trail network.

 GHTC PRIORITIES FOR TRAIL DEVELOPMENT

 1)    Development of Trails that link the 3 GHTC  managed country trails to the heart of the city.
      • TCT
      • Speed River Trail from Humane Society to Edinburgh.
      • Radial Line Trail gaps between Stone Rd and Arkell  Springs Property
      •           e.g.Carter Well Property –  links west side  Victoria trails to RLT.
 2)    Development of Trails that support GHTC “city to country “ initiative and link existing GHTC trails
  • DoLime Quarry – the update should include the City’’s stated intent to annex this property, by completing a link from Dovercliffe to the Hanlon thru this property. The quarry bridge should be utilized as part of a loop to trails along the opposite bank.
  •  Niska Waterfowl Park –  trails along both sides of Niska  (2005 plan). The Park is partially owned by the city and GRCA. Community trails exist on the property despite its “access prohibitions”.
  •  Yorklands connections and loops-Install a 900 ft recreational trail RRT extension through PDI adjacent to river. An underpass beneath the GJR trestle would open up to a bridge over the mouth of Clythe Creek as well as to the new trail over the Trestle cantilevers. This would connect to the GHTC  managed OR Sidetrail and Radial Line Trail.
  •  Hanlon Creek trail   links the end of Stone Road West extension at the river to  Hanlon Creek CA/Preservation Park, via the creek valley and the underpass under Hanlon Parkway. GRCA and City already own all the land .
  3) Development of trails that utilize GJR infrastructure and ROW’s
  •   Wellington to Victoria Rd,
  •   York to Stone Rd over Clythes Creek and Eramosa river.
  •   Stone Rd to Arkell Rd.
  •   Speedvale to Woodlawn
  •   TCT

 4) Improvement of trails that support the Official Secondary Downtown Plan as the  downtown hub connects our 3 trails. City should begin negotiations with owners of property that will require access for the city to fulfill implementation of Secondary Plan now. .

GHTC can offer a strong volunteer network, experience in project management, trail installation and the ongoing maintenance of developed trails. GHTC would be a willing partner in working on any of the listed priorities for trail development that intersect with city priorities for tertiary recreational trail development.


ENHANCINGTHE TRAIL USERS EXPERIENCE

 Other important elements of an updated GMPTU

  •  Improved mapping. The city is not an island.  The city needs a map, with enlargement capability that features all trails in and immediately adjacent to  the City EG. GHTC Radial Line Trails, Speed River trail , GORBA trails at Guelph Lake and Arkell Springs,  Hanlon Creek CA  trails. Ignatius Trails
  • Improved Wayfinding -First priority is by the Covered Bridge west side –  A well used staging area for trail users and tourists. Orientation to the trail system is needed. 
  • More effort should be expended in aligning  downtown city priorities with city trail from the Covered Bridge to Eramosa Rd to enhance the trail users experience. Gardens, landscape, historical sites, public art, improved and better placed park furniture, new and improved interpretive signage.
  • Re-establish Trail Advisory Committee – The current non city sponsored ad hoc Trail Users Advisory group is not a substitute for the continuity and accountability that a formal city sponsored and supported Trail Advisory  committee should provide.

John Fisher  President Guelph Hiking Trail Club


Guelph Hiking Trail Club is a charitable organization Registration#11894 9395

PO Box 1, Guelph, ON, N1H 6J6 


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