A Wellesley Village neighbourhood remains divided over the prospect of a trail running through a new subdivision. As council met for the last time this year, officials were no closer to a decision on a contentious issue that’s dragged on for months.
Though development of the Bast Bush Trail is on hold, a group of residents from Schweitzer Crescent and Molesworth Street were out Tuesday night to add to a long list of reasons in favour of scrapping the trail.
While some residents have been keen to have the new trail in place, the group of homeowners present at this week’s meeting object to having the route immediately adjacent to their backyards, citing safety and privacy concerns.
Now, they’re worried the lack of integrated walkways in the village will prompt trail users to drive their cars to the area in order to access the route.
“I finally realized that half the streets here in Wellesley don’t have any sidewalks or safe passage outside of walking on the roads,” said resident Paul Zepf. “Therefore there are a number of people who would have to walk on the roads, and it’s safe to assume they would use their vehicles. This defeats the purpose of having exterior trails when you don’t have an interior method in town in which the people can safely get about.”
Zepf’s presentation on behalf of the homeowners present concluded with a recommendation to council that all trail development north of Schweitzer and Molesworth, east of Nafziger and west of Greenwood be cancelled.
The proposed Bast Bush Trail has divided the village and pitted neighbours against one another ever since it was approved by the township in June.
After discussion of the homeowners’ concerns, council opted to defer decisions on trails development until it has more information. In the meantime, councillors are encouraging residents and the Wellesley
Trails Association to come up with alternative trails on public lands.
The township is also waiting on a comprehensive review of the Bast Bush Trail, including more public consultation and input from the trails group.
“At this particular time it is my observation that we are waiting on a proposal from the WTA, which they are working on,” said Mayor Ross Kelterborn. “And when they bring that proposal to us, there are a variety of things that we will balance this trail against. In a nutshell, that’s where I see the situation being, and until that happens, we will just have to wait for that to come.”