The most enjoyable and visually pleasing walk in Kemptville is the former rail bed between Wellington and Bedell, now officially signed by the municipality as the “Rail Trail”. The recent snowfall has, however, rendered the trail almost impassible, and in its current state it is an icy, ankle twisting mess. As of Sunday morning, many pedestrians had braved the footpath and beaten it down somewhat, but I suspect that they found it as difficult as I did.
If the municipality is going to promote the trail as part of the local “Green and Growing” mantra, then it needs to start tending to the trail on a year round basis. It surely cannot be difficult or expensive to run a small plow down its length so that it can be enjoyed in all seasons. I find it hard to accept that the trail exists for the sole enjoyment of the snowmobile crowd during the winter months, particularly when those individuals can find alternative routes that local walkers cannot.
North Grenville’s official website clearly designates the rail trail as a “walking pathway”, with the clear implication being that walking is the primary use for the trail. If the municipality is going to promote the rail trail as a feature of the community, then it has an obligation to maintain it on a year round basis in such a manner as to keep it safely accessible for the widest possible range of users.
As of now, the municipality is failing to do so. Perhaps the new council ‑ some of whom made much of the notion of community safety during the recent campaign ‑ will see fit to clarify and take action on this matter.