To the editor:
(re: Bridge requires major work – Minden Times Dec. 23 2015)
It comes as no surprise to us that people aren’t reporting incidents of misuse of the rail trail. It doesn’t mean that things are fine on the trail it means that reporting incidents is a waste of time.
We have lived in our home which is adjacent to the trail since 2000 so have witnessed activity on it for almost 16 years before during and after the Rail Trail Committee. In December 2014 we were surprised to read in the paper about the report to County Council which said that there had been no reports of misuse during the year. We had no idea that one could report misuse so in early 2015 we contacted the county to ask how one should go about reporting them.
We were advised to contact several people and organizations when we noticed misuse: Pam Weiss at the county the OPP the bylaw officer as well as the snowmobile or ATV club depending on which season it was. We did this for a while and then realized that it was a complete waste of time because 1) there is a lot of misuse during peak seasons 2) we’re supposed to make three to four phone calls for each one 3) the people who need to know are already aware and 4) because the monitoring is spotty at best the misusers have little chance of being caught.
We had a visit from an OPP officer who understood our frustration. He said that the OPP is well aware of the situation but is only able to monitor activity on a limited basis. We talked to the bylaw officer and he said that he couldn’t monitor for speed or stopping at driveways but was out in the spring before the trail opened for ATV activity. The snowmobile club said that it would remind its members about stopping at driveways and ATV club emailed back to say that its members are aware but very few locals are members.
So we’ve decided not to bother reporting incidents any more. What’s the point? Until a way is found to adequately monitor activity on the trail there will be no improvement. We wrote to the members of County Council via the director of public works at the end of November to tell them of our observations during the year. We told them that reporting is a waste of time but that they shouldn’t assume that all is well on the trail just because no reports are received. In the article Reeve Moffatt said that “it was a bit of a wild west out there” while the Rail Trail plan was being drafted. It still is.
Elaine Bell and Jack Bush