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Delhi pathways plan to better connect ‘heart of Picton’

By Sharon Harrison
Details of a series of pathways through Delhi Park, described as the heart of Picton, and how they will connect to existing infrastructure were unveiled at a recent well-attended public open house.

On display for review and comment were preliminary designs on a series of display boards (no presentation), where Victoria Taylor of Victoria Taylor Landscape Architects and members of her team outlined the design of the community connections plan and the upgrades to existing pathways.

Hosted by the municipality, which helped guide the project with the formation of a task team, the initiative focuses primarily on developing a design for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as public transit initiatives.

The goal is intended to improve park accessibility, public safety and environmental sustainability while better connecting to Delhi Park’s surrounding neighborhoods, as well as Picton Main Street.

The park currently is known for having a ball diamond with no lights, a jungle gym and swings, community gardens, green space, a tobogganing hill and dog park.

The idea is to connect Picton, from ridge-to-ridge, where the information panels suggest using Delhi Park’s central location and valley formation as an active transportation connector to Main Street, Picton harbour, Macaulay Village, the Millennium Trail and all of Picton, from the north, south, east and west.

Unmaintained and unofficial pathways have been informally used through Delhi Park for many years, and in the interests of public safety and well-being, the municipality is looking to formalize these routes.

It was noted the design intends to keep it natural by protecting and enhancing park elements, including Marsh Creek, along with existing trees.

A public survey of streets or paths most respondents used to enter the park indicated 51 per cent use the Mary Street public parking lot, followed by the Glenwood Cemetery footpath at almost 47 per cent; Lalor Street at 41 per cent, then East Mary Street (behind the Regent Theatre) at 32 per cent.

The new pathways are expected to be paved and three-metres wide, making them compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act for year-round use.

Along with County staff, Taylor and her team were on hand to discuss details of the design, address concerns and answer questions.

A 28-acre public park “inextricably linked to the historic heart of Picton”, Delhi Park has been shaped by everyday users since the 1980s, notes Taylor’s website, and by its 80-year history of landfilling Picton’s industrial and domestic waste (capped in 1979).

The cost to develop the design plan was $50,000 with funding for the preliminary design phase provided by Infrastructure Canada’s active transportation fund.

Numerous Delhi Park user groups were consulted during the process, along with the public, youth organizations, neighbouring developments and key stakeholders such as Community Gardens, Quinte Conservation, Glenwood Cemetery, the County’s environmental advisory committee and Macaulay village neighbourhood association, among them.

The project would come in two phases, with the first completed in fall and winter 2023, where a task team was formed, and public and stakeholder consultations took place. Once the plan is developed, phase two is to include an application for implementation and construction funding.

The open house was the second and final public consultation session for the Delhi Park community connection plan.

Ashley Stewart, the County’s Community Services & Programs Coordinator, said the plan still needs to go to the municipality’s traffic committee, and then council.

“We won’t know what the next steps are until these meetings take place, but if there’s there’s support, seeking funding will be essential. There are a number of funding streams that this project could potentially fit into, including Active Transportation, Accessibility and Environmental. Due to the scale of the project, the project is intended to roll out in a phased approach over many years.”

It is proposed the first phase would connect Macaulay Village to Picton Main Street.

The event also provided information on County Transit initiatives. The mini buses were launched in 2020 and operate currently on a fixed route between Picton, Bloomfield and Belleville, four times a day, five days per week.

A flexible route serving the western part of the County, and scheduled on-demand services, also exist to help residents connect to the fixed route.

Changes coming in early June show an expanded fixed route, as well as a pilot project for a Picton summer loop in partnership with Base31 that will also add a stop at the Waring House – off the Picton traffic circle. The loop begins and ends at the Metro grocery store parking lot and is being provided May 24 to Sept. 8.

Funding is provided through the provincial community transportation fund. Details of service, routes, schedules, pricing and more can be found on the County’s website.

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  1. Mike Rodgers says:

    Would it not make sense to fix what we have before creating more than we cannot afford to maintain?

  2. Paul D Cole says:

    Paving walking trails in Delhi Park and returning some surface treated roads back to gravel what is going on ? Delhi Park has been rehabilitated twice well actually 3 times it was the Town dump the majority of it. It was expanded and enlarged Delhi Park the area across the creek trails were made and wooden structures put in place a type of exercise equipment and then those wooden structures were removed and metal exercise/activity equipment was installed they were barely used, it’s gone now. And now paved walkways. Will they be plowed in the winter months?

  3. SM says:

    Perhaps employees at Base 31 or the Waring House might also use this expanded service. As well, if others use the service to access those locations and do some drinking, I would rather them be on a bus than behind the wheel or a personal vehicle. Maybe I am more of a glass half full guy.

  4. Stuart D says:

    Agreed. Private businesses appear to be in conflict here. Yes it’s a great idea, but if you pay attention to the goings on, Base 31 has money and power to influence. Doesn’t matter how it’s coordinated, who benefits and who doesn’t, ultimately private business should not be crossing this line. Shame on council.

  5. Kristen says:

    Exciting initiative! Enhancing connectivity in Picton’s core will surely enrich community engagement and vitality.

  6. SM says:

    The ‘summer loop’ is being subsidized by Base 31. That organization has agreed to fund any shortfall between the cost to operate the expanded route and fares collected. That should answer JennyD’s first question. Inasmuch as the same buses are to be used, it would seem that access to persons with disabilities will be identical to what exists currently. As to question 3, this loop is an expansion of the current fixed route. Thus visitors/families can go wherever the fixed route runs..just like any normal bus service. Of course Base 31 hopes that this summer loop will increase access to their property and the businesses that operate there. Just what is wrong with that?

  7. Lou says:

    Good point angela. There should be consultation and feedback from ALL cross sections of population about any changes to this area. INCLUDING PROPERTY OWNERS. It seems lately that the more people who show up and make noise sway the decision makers. Many of us are busy working, not all retired, and do have children and enjoy outdoor activities in the park and walking trails. Some of us use them out of necessity, because we cannot afford vehicles and we walk. I would hope that council considers all cross sections of population, and not just those who want to pretty it up. Yes make it accessible but stop focussing on things that don’t matter – keep it natural. It’not an extension of the millenium trail – and looks what’s happened to that. Swallowed up by large subdivisions and changed beyond it’s original scope.

  8. angela says:

    With all of the attention to Delhi Park why has the fact that at its entrance there was once a plaque on a pillar which read The Angus LeHeup Delhi Athletic Field. It seems that both the plaque and Mr.LeHeup have been forgotten. Council chose to recognize a man who was, at one time I believe, the town foreman and in subsequent years this recognition was totally ignored and insulted. Hard to think of anything more rude that dedicating a park area to a well respected Picton man, then scrapping the recognition as if it had been an embarrassing mistake. Are we in such a hurry to move ahead that we cannot take a moment to look at the past?

  9. JennyD says:

    Re: County Transit Initiatives – Are tax dollars being used to shuttle users around a “loop” to service and promote private businesses? Is it accessible for users with disabilities? Will visitors/families with children have a choice to be shuttled around the county to public spaces and parks? Why does this feel like it’s restrictive to party goers of specific age and promoting private businesses.

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