The Weather Network
May. 20, 2022 | Friday
Editorials and Opinions
Letter: Town not considering negatives to heritage trail 'improvements'

The following letter was sent to Lord Mayor Betty Disero on June 14.

We are writing in regards to the heritage hiking trail.

Over the past few months, we have discussed the current plans for the Upper Canada Heritage Trail with a number of local residents and were not able to find anyone who felt that a wide, gravel surface would add to their enjoyment. While I’m sure that there are those in favour of a surface on the heritage trail, I fear that there has not been sufficient consideration of those who are opposed to it.

NOTL has a path on the Parkway that is paved for all to enjoy as well as other groomed walkways. What is starting to become lacking is trails in their more natural state. Niagara-on-the-Lake should have a variety of trails … something for everyone.

It should also be pointed out that a significant portion of the heritage trail is surrounded by vineyards. These vineyards are certainly picturesque and part of the appeal of the trail; however, they can also be hazardous.

The current terrain of the trail is indicative of a use-at-your-own-risk environment. Whereas a groomed surface would imply a place of safety … perhaps some may even assume right-of-way with a tractor.  

There is also the hazard of pesticide use in these areas and those unfamiliar with farm practices may not understand to maintain a safe distance. The town may be risking a level of liability by closely combining agriculture with tourism in a potential hazardous manner.

It should also be considered that many parts of the heritage trail that pass through or adjacent to the vineyards have the elevated risk for measurable damage to the groomed surface from farm equipment. This will make the trail more dangerous to hike, which in turn will become a constant maintenance issue and spoil nature's beauty.

It should also be considered that a good portion of the heritage trail is maintained by two of the adjacent property owners. When approximately 100 trees were chaotically planted along the trail, there was no consultation or even consideration of the impact this would have on the path’s maintenance.  

Once again, it seems that the town is forging ahead without asking the right questions or considering potentially negative side affects. We feel strongly that additional due diligence is warranted.

Brian and Tracey Dim