| Apr 26, 2007


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Feature Article - April 26, 2007

FrontenacCounty to buy K&P Trail inCentralFrontenac

byJeffGreen

Members of Central Frontenac Council were surprised to hear this week that the County of Frontenac is getting into the trail business, in Central Frontenac!

At a meeting of the Frontenac County Council back on April 18, the prospect of using a recently received provincial grant to purchase the former K&P trail lands from the border between Kingston and South Fontenac to the village of Tichborne, including a 15-kilometre swath in Central Frontenac, was discussed. After an in camera session, a motion authorizing the county to proceed with negotiations for the purchase with Bell Canada, the current owner of the trail, was approved unanimously. County council is made up of the mayors of North, Central and South Frontenac, and the Frontenac Islands.

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Central Frontenac Mayor Janet Gutowski informed her own council of the decision at a meeting that took place this past Tuesday (April 24). She said that the countyhad decided to purchase the line from Piccadilly to Tichborne, at a projected cost of $60,000.

It all started when the county received an unexpected grant from a provincial infrastructure program in late March. The $289,000 grant was earmarked for the purchase of the K&P Trail in South and Central Frontenac.

While South Frontenac has resurrected the idea of purchasing the K&P rail line with a view towards establishing a multi-use trail under the management of the Cataraqui Trail Foundation, Central Frontenac has put trail development plans aside for the past three years, for fear of taking on fencing and liability costs. At the time the grant was received, Gord Burns, the Clerk-Administrator for South Frontenac, acknowledged that Central Frontenac had not yet been approached about whether they want to participate, saying, “The next step will be to approach Central Frontenac Council to see if they want to join in and work towards a purchase of the line running from Piccadilly to Sharbot Lake.”

At a meeting of Central Frontenac Council in early April, it was decided that the township was not in a position to proceed with the purchase, and council asked only for $10,000 from the $289,000 grant for surveying trail lands in the Sharbot Lakearea.

When county council decided to go ahead with the purchase on its own, it also rejected Central Frontenac’s $10,000 funding request “The lands will be held in trust until Central Frontenac is ready to move forward,” Gutowski told her council onTuesday. “No one is pressing Central Frontenac to go forward and make any decisions at this time. This will just give us the opportunity,should we decide at a later date to develop a trail.”

“I’m quite surprised,” said Councilor Frances Smith. “My concern is, if we don’t buy it back from the county, we have no control over the uses.” Deputy Mayor Bill Snyder, whose home district of Hinchinbrooke contains thelands that are to be purchased, said that many people in Hinchinbrooke who live on properties adjacent to the former rail line are strongly opposed to the trail.

Councilor Gary Smith said, “I’m wondering if County Council isn’t trying to carveout a role for itself here.”Councilor Bob Harvey had little problem with the county initiative. “I think we should pass a motion thanking the county for acting on our behalf.” Other councillors supported Harvey’s motion, with the proviso that the motion include a request that the county offer up the land for sale to Central Frontenac.

The motion passed, with Councilor Philip Smith (Hinchinbrooke) and Deputy Mayor Snyder registering the only nay votes

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