On Thursday, February 16th there was a meeting at the Buffalo Club on Cow Bay Road in Eastern Passage. A number of political representatives attended as well as individuals from DNRR, Hike NS and Community, Culture, Tourism and Heritage. Staff from HRM were in attendance to hear what was being offered - David MacIsaac and Emma Martin.
Barbara Adams introduced the Marine Riders Trail Association and advised they have applied for the Letter of Authority for the Shearwater Flyer Trail. She then turned the meeting over to the President of the Marine Riders Trail Association. The President provided a short history of this organization and that the name had been changed a few months ago to enable the Association to access all of the funding CHPTA does as well as the OHV grant for motorized trails.
The Committee members of the Marine Riders Trail Association have not changed to reflect that they are now a Multi Use Path organization as opposed to ATVs only. The President advised that the Shearwater Flyer will be maintained on an annual basis and provided the 5 year plan for maintenance. He assured the audience that there would be a separate Committee formed to manage the Shearwater Flyer and asked for interested members of the audience to sign up as he would like to have Committee members from the community. He then opened the floor up for a question and answer period which was tightly controlled by the "facilitator".
We wish the Marine Riders every success. There are challenges ahead falling into three areas:
Health - Halifax’s Active Transportation program wants you to bicycle, walk and use other “human powered” ways to move across the municipality. The municipality plans to build new active transportation greenways, sidewalks and enhanced bicycle facilities. The future vision is a regional greenway and bicycle network that spans across the municipality. This is one of the goals of the Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act - how the uneasy relationship between ATVs and human-powered use will develop is anyone's guess.
Housing - a large part of the trail borders on the Morris Lake property which is one of six designated for quick approval and buildout. Enthusiasm for new housing shouldn't tempt us to make the wrong decision for health or the environment by ignoring transportation or pollutants.
Climate - Nova Scotia is trying to reduce pollutants. We need to take this decision in the full knowledge of consequences. Climate covers a host of intimately connected concerns - not just buildings and power generation, but also species decline, forest management, pollution and development.
This decision will allow CHPTA to focus on the Heritage Park and Salt Marsh Trail, which is a good thing.
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