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Council approves two of four new Millennium Trail launch points

Council approved two of four new ‘launch points’ for the Millennium Trail – dropping proposals at Bloomfield and Picton, citing traffic nightmares and potential disaster.

The proposed launch points, modelled after one already in place at Wellington, are to provide a location for trail users to park vehicles and use a rest area, with basic amenities. The locations approved are at Salem Road near Consecon and Station Road in Hillier.

Against the Lake Street proposal, councillor Jamie Forrester stated he has been watching large travel trailers and other vehicles negotiating that area for years, and believes that without modifications to the newly installed curbs,  “we will have a disaster on our hands”.

Several councillors, and Mayor Ferguson agreed the area at Lake Street could become “an accident waiting to happen”. Others noted agreement with staff that the area is already a parking lot and wouldn’t necessarily attract additional traffic.

Citing traffic congestion on Stanley Street at Bloomfield, councillor Phil St.-Jean said yet another entrance/exit is not welcome on the County’s fourth busiest road.

“Also, there was no traffic impact study done, as we request of all developers,” he added, adding there could soon be several more access points to the Millennium Trail throughout the County as new housing developments gain approvals.

Budget breakdowns showed a deficit of $59,756 to construct the launch points – which would be reduced or eliminated with just two sites. The trail committee was not requesting additional funds from the municipality, noting it would fundraise any short-fall. The committee has already raised $128,250 for the project.

Annual operating costs associated with the new launch areas would create a new demand on the County’s operating budget – for garbage collection, toilet cleaning and pump out, maintenance of gravel and grass cutting – but potential savings may be available with community volunteer agreements for minor maintenance as is currently done for the existing point at Wellington.

The launch areas are expected to be constructed and open in 2021.

In July, council sought a report from staff exploring alternate locations, following citizen concerns expressed about some of the locations.

In response to several neighbours opposing the launch construction at the Bloomfield location, the municipality proposed daily garbage collection, some vegetation, and a board fence to deter trespassing onto the neighbouring private property.

A staff review recommended the launch point remain as originally proposed at Bloomfield as the existing lot is cost-effective for development, flat and at grade with the roadway. Staff noted it also provides direct access to the trail, preferable over the proposed nearby Mill Pond Park location.

Among concerns related to using the Mill Pond Park area are lack of parking and sidewalks. Its entry road, Brick Street, is also too narrow to support pedestrian traffic with two-way traffic. Existing sidewalk on Stanley Street does not meet accessibility standards.

Staff also reviewed moving the Bloomfield location launch point to Shannon Road and noted similar concerns with lack of sidewalk and forcing a pedestrian crossing. That area would also require additional ditching, culvert installation and lot grading to be suitable, and does not provide direct, accessible connection to the trail.

 

Alternatives for the Lake Street location were also explored near Upper Lake Street and County Road 1 at the trail. At Upper Lake pedestrians would be forced to cross the road, some of the land is not County-owned and the launch points would not provide direct access. While County Road 1 does have direct access, it does not provide a connection to Picton.

In Hillier, the alternative considered was Jack Talor Park on Station Road, but it also does not have direct connection, is on a curvy road with limited shoulder.
The proposed location includes adequate sitelines for entry and exit, direct access and possiblity for school bus turning area.

Consecon’s proposed Salem Road location is also noted as being cost-effective for development of the entrance, with a parking area that requires minimal grading and it is closest to the hamlet.

Novotny Court was reviewed but not recommended as there would be vegetation and tree removal; it is not highly visible and may conflict with access to two landlocked private properties.

The existing Wellington launch point is the model for the four new launch points.

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