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10k/hr speed limits requested at significant wetland areas on Milliennum Trail.

With final approval at council’s next meeting, speed limits of 10k/hr will be posted through two small,  significant wetland areas – Hubbs Creek and Slab Creek – along the Millennium Trail.

Amy Bodman and Dave Mowbray, members of the Millennium Trail Improvement Ad Hoc Committee, and various other County and environmental groups, made the request at Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

Hubbs Creek location

“They are two very small areas, but it would increase the wildlife security in those areas, and not make a big difference for ATVers, snowmobilers and other users,” said Mowbray.

The 10km/h posting, instead of a 20km/h as observed in some areas along the trail where it’s not 50km/h, comes, said Bodman, as it is common knowledge people tend to go 10-15km/h faster than posted limits.

“Really this is more about changing behaviour and understanding, than about enforcement,” she said, noting anticipation of a lot more people using the trail.

Slab Creek location

Councillor Phil Prinzen suggested the parts of the trail remain in rough condition which would naturally slow traffic flow.

Bodman said the trail has already been resurfaced, as part of its funding comes from wheelchair accessibility.

Bodman noted the committee took two years to come up with a solution to resurfacing the wetland areas of the trail incorporating uses that would also project species and the biodiversity of the area.

“So it had to be limestone screening,” she said, noting other options were studied – including fencing, culverts, raised roads and diversions – but all were expensive. She said the use of the screening will be monitored for its effects on wildlife and in the meantime, the education program will be a great opportunity to teach about the importance of the significant wetland area.

“Limestone screenings solves most of challenges, but also increases threats to wetlands,” she noted.

A speed limit of 10km/h will greatly reduce most of the threats to the wetlands and wildlife, protect migrating turtles, frogs, snakes and insects from becoming roadkill; significantly reduce noise and dust pollution and reduce incidences of wear and tear, and erosion.

Her presentation noted constant noise pollution deters secretive marsh birds from nesting; dust from limestone screening can erode into the wetland and resurfacing provides easier access by predators to the turtle nests.

Bodman and Mowbray noted the committee is also considering further ways to protect the wetlands, and will mount a robust education campaign.

“It will also highlight the wetland sections as extremely important features of the trail; preserve sections as wildlife corridors and allow users to really savour the beauty surrounding them and help make people aware of the County’s rich, natural heritage, especially its wetlands.”

Final approval is to come before council at its March 10 meeting.

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