Sled corridor in park a good compromise
Timmins council’s decision this week to create a snowmobile path through hollinger Park has, on the surface, the distinct odour of bending to lawbreakers.
after all, this decision comes after several weeks of incidents where snowmobilers were illegally driving through the park, damaging the sk8te hollinger rink and wrecking some of the electrical infrastructure associated with it. so how did the city respond? Council approved a corridor through the park to accommodate snowmobilers. it sounds a bit weak-kneed and sordid. But in reality, it is actually a good compromise, a win-win situation, which council ironed out with the Timmins snowmobile Club.
it is also important to keep in mind in all of this that snowmobilers and snowmobiling tourism is greatly valued in our community.
The dual fenced corridor through the park will provide snowmobilers with access off the main trail to the shell gas station to fuel up, while keeping the machines away from the sk8te hollinger rink.
The snowmobile club has agreed to maintain and groom the trail with its own equipment.
The corridor would essentially enclose the park from the northern edge of the Brunette road entrance and curving to create a fenced barrier along algonguin Boulevard leading to the gas station.
Ken Pye, the operator of the sk8te hollinger outdoor rink, raised this as a concern, saying the barrier would prevent skaters from conveniently being able to leave the park from the Brunette-algonquin intersection.
surely a small opening could be created along the corridor that would enable pedestrians to safely cross at that point.
after all, the speed limit for snowmobiles through parks, which is mandated by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, is 20 km/h and an approaching snowmobile can be easily heard. There is no excuse. The onus could be placed on the pedestrian not walking in the path of an oncoming snowmobile.
as Mayor steve Black noted during the meeting, it is in everyone’s best interest to make this work.
“When you look at what our city is, largely about enjoying the great quality of life we have, and the outdoor recreation,” he said, “i think this is a potential great partnership to resolve an issue and to provide safe access for both users of that area.” — Ron Grech Rgrech@postmedia.com