The Weather Network
May. 20, 2022 | Friday
Editorials and Opinions
Letter: Heritage trail needs preservation, not renovation

The following letter was sent to Lord Mayor Betty Disero by NOTL resident Julie Clark on July 8.

Dear Betty,

Having seen the “improvements” to the first section of the Heritage Trail between King Street and Paffard Street, I felt compelled to write to you. I am imploring you to stop the second section from Charlotte Street to East and West Line from being altered.

We use the trail daily, often multiple times a day. It is a refuge for us ... a beautiful, natural nature trail that provides shady protection from the sun in the summer and warming protection from the wind and cold in the winter.

There are days like today (extreme heat) when I just would not be able to walk my dog if if weren’t for the trail. Similarly, there are days in the winter when it allows us to get out and enjoy a walk no matter how cold. 

Last year I had treatment for cancer and the trail was there for me: a place to take some short, slow walks that enabled me to get out of the house and enjoy nature without having to leave my neighbourhood. Having this trail was priceless to me in a time of extreme crisis.

But it is not just us that benefit from this natural environment. There are all kinds of birds and animals that live there that would be affected if the trail was to be altered.

There has already been a reduction in the amount of wildlife since the Rand Estate was decimated.  And the trees… where do I even start?  We have lost so many trees from the clear-cutting of the Rand Estate directly adjacent to the trail … cutting down more to widen the trail to three metres is unthinkable!  

Right now it is only about one metre wide in some areas.  A few years ago there was a tree-planting initiative on the section between The Promenade and East and West Line. Those small trees (which are doing very well, by the way) would have to be taken out to accommodate a three-metre wide trail. It breaks my heart to think of the number of trees that would have to come down. This should not happen.

As a resident who has backed on to the trail for the last 30 years, I cannot tell you how much it has already changed just in the last four years… the foot traffic, bicycle traffic and motorized vehicles have increased substantially.

Large groups of wine tour cyclists are leaving all kinds of litter behind and noisy dirt bikes and quads are churning up the path, leaving large ruts behind. There used to be barricades preventing them from entering the trail, but they have been removed, much to the detriment of the trail.

My father passed away a few years ago. The trail was one of the main reasons my parents bought our house. Some of his ashes are spread on it and one of those new trees, which was planted my me, is dedicated to him. 

I have not spoken to a single person who thinks that widening and paving the trail with gravel is a good idea. Three metres is not a trail … it is a road.  Even bike paths are only two metres. Please stop the destruction of a natural space that is one of the few places left in town for local residents to enjoy.

Julie Clark


and my Mother,
Dorothy Clark