By Chris Weingarth
Our May 12th meeting was part of a series of meetings, and walks, we’ve been having since February in which we’ve been learning about the history, and possible future development, of pathways and trails in our area. The meeting was well attended, and there were a number of folks for whom it was their first time participating in the conversation. It turned out to be a great opportunity for concerns to be aired and for budding misunderstandings to be addressed before becoming overly inflated. My overall sense was that by the end of the meeting there was general agreement that pathways and trails contribute positively to the overall vibrancy of our community, and that developing pathways in a manner which is both frugal and fiscally responsible is a priority.
Some of the particulars from the meeting include:
- A request for a map of prospective pathways routes which includes information about property ownership.
- A description of the numerous individual and community health benefits of enhanced walkability in a community. Included mention of the research that has been done on the the preventive medical benefits of a walk in the woods.
- A request for timelines regarding any proposed trail development.
- A concern that liability issues be adequately addressed as pathways development is considered.
- A question concerning possible annexation of MD land. This seemed a moot point given that the land in question is owned by the Golf Club.
- The importance of seeking agreement in principle from the towns, the MD, and the Golf Club for looping the Friendship Trail.
- The business case that can be for how looping the Friendship Trail would benefit the Golf Club. This included mention of how the Oilfields High School would also benefit.
- A description of pathways development in High River. The active walkers group at the Sheep River Library, which has over 160 participants. Examples of various “Friends of …” organizations and the fundraising and organizational benefits such an arrangement confers.
- Appreciation was expressed for entertaining a creative vision of the future and working to bring it about.
The next meeting is Tuesday, June 9, 7:00pm at the Turner Valley Golf Club. The group will meet over the summer on the first Tuesday of the month.