Newsletter May 2015

Trail Talk

Spring has sprung at last! After slogging through thigh high snow and WAY below zero temperatures to go for a short winter walk, this is heavenly!

Over the winter, Pathways for People has continued to advocate in many areas to support Active Transportation in Norfolk. We have our fingers in many pies – wider trails, historical signage, new trails, more linkages and more bicycle lanes. We have two subcommittees: one dedicated group to organize public trail walk events and a busy advocacy team.  Keep reading to see what we are working on!

All of this background work is to provide excellent trails for our busy active residents – walkers and cyclists – YOU! Now strap on your walking shoes, pump up your tires and discover parts of Norfolk County you’ve never seen before… trails, side trails, urban adventures and more. Check out our website for more ideas. See you on the trail!

Submitted by Joyce Flexman

Winter Wonderland Walk

Our Winter Wonderland Walk was held on Sunday, March 8th. Approximately 70 people joined us for an urban walk through Port Dover’s Main Street and included a stop at the new Riverfront Park, beside the Harbour Museum, and the lighthouse on the pier. 

After the walk, many gathered in the Lion’s building for refreshments, draw prizes and brief comments by Mayor Charlie Luke and Councillor John Wells. A big thanks to organizers Bob Williams, Al Ladd and Todd Aldridge; donating businesses – Port Dover Fitness Centre and North Shore Runners; and all the walkers for making this event a success. 

Submitted by Dave Challen

Active Transportation [AT] Master Plan

Norfolk County Public Works and Environmental Services Department has hired the MMM Group to develop the Integrated Sustainable Master Plan. As part of this overall plan, Healthy Communities’ dollars will be used to fund a standalone AT Master Plan. MMM Group has vast experience in master plans of this kind and has recently developed AT plans for neighbouring communities.

MMM Group values community consultation as an integral part of the process and will be providing opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to give their input through both face-to-face and online venues. Updates will be posted on Pathways for People’s Facebook page. LIKE our page to keep informed.

Turkey Point Mountain Bike Club… a busy year ahead!

Planning…TPMBC is creating a Ten Year Strategic Plan. The club has surveyed the wishes and needs of our members and the mountain bike community in Ontario. Upon completion, the plan will be shared with all members, assist us in applying for funding as needed,  and focusing our efforts in an organized manner.

Events…5th Annual Ripper – This year’s event will be held on Sunday, September 27th at Long Point Eco-Adventures. Last year we had 160 riders participate and the club hopes to build on this success. The planning committee will meet soon.

Group Rides…

  • Club rides are on Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings.
  • L.O.S.T. (Ladies on Single Track) rides are Tuesday nights.
  • Youth rides are Saturday mornings.

Ride times are listed on our Facebook page and our website:

Membership …TPMBC has reached 200 members. Roughly 50% of our membership is from Norfolk County and 50% reside in London, Kitchener, Brantford and the GTA areas. TPMBC extends a warm welcome to our latest executive members Anne Meiklejohn and Andy Palermo. Ron Armstrong has retired as our Membership Director after 4 years of service. Thank you, Rona.

Trails Update…TPMBC is currently creating 3 new trails on the old Charlotteville dump property on the 2nd Concession. Work crews have been busy restoring existing trails after a hard winter and logging operations on the Anderson Tract.

Grow Norfolk 

Norfolk County has started its Five Year Official Plan Review – Grow Norfolk, 2015.

What is an Official Plan [OP]?The OP is a statement of goals, objectives and policies intended to guide existing and future land use, physical development, and growth within the municipal boundaries of the County. The OP determines where new houses, stores, industries, schools, cultural facilities, parks, trails, roads and other land uses will be built; it protects our natural environment; and it directs the construction of new infrastructure such as sewers, water mains, transit and roads. It sets out the community’s vision for the future.Pathways for People members are excited to be involved in the community consultation part of the OP Review. On March 10th, they made a presentation at the Public Meeting for the Draft Terms of Reference, reinforcing that the OP address the following items:

  1. Integration of comprehensive trails and sidewalks in new development and redevelopment projects.
  2. Link communities by integrating existing trails with community sidewalks.
  3. Continue to support the 10 Cycling Routes on the Official Map with attention to safe paved access to and from our communities.

Get Involved! The voice of the community is the foundation to the overall direction of the project. At each stage of the program, there will be opportunity for participation and engagement. There are several ways that you can be involved:

  • Respond to the questionnaires
  • Attend community workshops and events – Saturday, May 30th, 10am-3pm, Port Rowan Community Centre
  • Email us at [email protected] with your comments or questions at any time.
  • All feedback received will be responded to and documented as part of the public record.

Ready… Set… Hike!

Healthy Hikes Challenge back for third year

This summer, the Long Point Region Conservation Authority (LPRCA) encourages you to take the Healthy Hikes Challenge. The Challenge runs until October 31 and encourages people to spend more time enjoying nature at the 270+ conservation areas managed by Ontario’s 36 conservation authorities.

Register online and record your time spent hiking at . To earn bonus points by participating in local events, check the calendar section of the LPRCA website at .

Across Ontario, conservation authorities collectively own over 2,500 km of trails. The conservation areas that they operate help protect ecologic features such as wetlands, forests, rivers and streams, and great lakes shoreline, all of which contribute to our overall health and well-being. 

Submitted by Janice Robertson

Waterford Heritage Trail

This space is usually written in the past tense devoted to WHT accomplishments but this time we look to the future. In August 2016, our Black Bridge will be 100 years old! A proud age that warrants a centennial celebration, a party, a community get-together!

The Shadow Lake Group, headed by Andy Kooistra, is a WHT subcommittee devoted to developing the former Waterford rail lands. The group has cleared scrub brush from the banks of Shadow Lake, installed a mini Black Bridge spanning the north and south shores, separated the fisherperson road from our trail and then paved the trail, as well as installed two docks to encourage water traffic. These successes – in their brief life – are impressive.

Andy has invited a leading Waterford event organizer to co-ordinate a Black Bridge Gala that could include dinner on the Black Bridge, fireworks over the Ponds, a paddleboard flotilla, a concert starring a local music icon, children’s rides and events and a fishing extravaganza. You name it!

August 12 &13, 2016 are the dates to save for these events.  You won’t want to miss them. Your WHT membership will guarantee you first right of acceptance on the invited list. We are like The Little Engine That Could. We can make this happen. Help us make it happen.

Submitted by Frank Woodcock

Advocacy in Action! 

Pathways for People is a unique community-based group advocating on your behalf for safe, active transportation [AT] infrastructure. We hope to build on our current AT infrastructure to make Norfolk County a model for other communities’ aspirations.

We now have an Advocacy Subcommittee. Here’s what we are working on…

  • We will participate in the community consultations for the AT Master Plan. Ours is a county with a long railway heritage, cycling history and Lake Erie maritime commerce, all of which needs to be celebrated and built upon. We are a rural community linked by automobiles and it is time to encourage other forms of safe AT.
  • One of our members, Rob Martin, is an active cyclist and he often rides the routes included on Norfolk County’s Official map. Rob is leading an initiative to offer recommendations to make these routes safer for locals and the tourists who come to Norfolk to ride. We will be presenting these recommendations for inclusion in the AT Master Plan.
  • Funded by the Healthy Communities’ Partnership Haldimand Norfolk, we are developing an Advocacy Toolkit. This resource will live online to help individuals, groups and organizations advocate for community issues. Features include strategies to refine your ask, work with County staff, identify a champion and many other techniques to develop a healthier, safer and more inclusive community. We hope to connect with community organizations to present a step-by-step process to maximize your voice and advocacy potential.

Stay tuned for more information on all of these exciting opportunities!

Submitted by Frank Woodcock

Lynn Valley Trail Association Spring Update

We had a great winter season on the Lynn Valley Trail. Snow accumulation and cold weather allowed for cross country skiing, snowshoeing and good old-fashioned walking through the foot plus of the white stuff.

Three new directors have joined our executive.  We welcome them to our group and know that they bring added skills to our Association. Here’s a little about each one so you can get to know them better.

Jessica Bommarito graduated from Trent University in 2011 with a Degree in Business Administration. She spent the following summer working for Parks Canada and saving her pennies (when pennies were still a ‘thing’) before spending a year between Europe, Britain and the Middle East on a working visa. The time she spent overseas was the catalyst for a new found appreciation for her home county of Norfolk. Shortly after returning home, she purchased her first house and started a career in fundraising and development at Lighthouse Festival Theatre in Port Dover.  She frequents the Lynn Valley, Norfolk Sunrise and Waterford Heritage trails (usually by bike) and is absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to the Lynn Valley Trail as a new director on the board.

Len Grincevicius has been retired from US Steel for six years and has been a resident of Simcoe for nearly forty years.  In addition to the Lynn Valley Trail, Len is also on the board of directors for the Norfolk Field Naturalists and also volunteers at the Long Point Bird Observatory.  Len’s hobbies include photography, birding, camping and spending time outdoors.

Bob Williams has lived his entire life in Norfolk County and spent many years in the hamlet of Marburg until moving to Port Ryerse area.  Bob has worked as a Social Service Worker for Community Living Access for over twenty years.  He is a very active community volunteer and has been involved with local horticultural groups for many years and is currently president of the Port Dover Woodhouse Horticultural Society.  He is also on the Pathways for People committee and Simcoe Policing Committee.  

Several events are already scheduled on the trail for 2015.

The Great Race for Rotary in honour of John Race will be held May 24th, Bike Safety Day sponsored by Bachmann Law and the LVTA on June 6th, and Crime Stoppers Run on August 23. Check our website for more information on upcoming events so you can get out and participate in them.

Several projects will be completed this spring.  Seven interpretive signs will be installed providing historical information on Norfolk County and our Trail.  Thanks to Eva Brook Donly Museum/Norfolk Historical Society for their assistance in gathering photographs and information from their archives for this project. Old benches will be upgraded and new ones installed to provide resting spots along the way.

A trail cleanup day was held April 15 to pick up the winter’s accumulation of rubbish and to trim back trees and shrubs along the corridor.  Volunteers were solicited to come out and help with this task.

Pictured here is the crew that cleaned up over half of the trail: Scott Fletcher, Bob Williams, Duch Finch, Michael Davis, Cathy Fletcher, Tracy Bellamy, Paul Beischlag, Bob Millar and Phil Ross. Missing from photo: Gord Pennington, Star Demeyere, Len Grincevicius, and Dan Robinson.

Thanks to the North Shore Runners who are frequent users of the trail and who recently completed a garbage sweep of 6 kilometres on the Port Dover end.

Three bike stands have been installed at key points of access – Fountain at Silver Lake (Port Dover), Prospect Street entrance (Port Dover) and at Memorial Park, (Simcoe).  We pass our thanks on to Stephanie Grant of Lynn Meadows Golf and Country Club for this generous donation.

Again, thanks to the many volunteers who assist us in clearing trees, cutting grass, picking up debris and emptying our garbage containers.  The trail is greatly improved by your assistance and your continued support is very much appreciated.

Enjoy the spring and summer on our trail as well as the adjoining trails to Delhi and Waterford.  Happy hiking and biking.  Thanks to Len Grincevicius for the spring photos taken on the trail. 

Submitted by Paul Beischlag, President LVTA

Submitted by Kerstein Mallon