In Local Keswick News – The Proposed Maskinonge River Pedestrian Bridge Planners Need Your Input

A reader very recently emailed me and asked that I help bring a local issue to the attention of, well, locals. ;)

Here is an excerpt from her email:

[I] have attached the trail system the Town had as part of their Secondary Plan in 2004. This year they expect to get a $1 million tax credit and were going to use it to connect West Park trails by sidewalk to Leslie, the Morton Avenue trails and build a pedestrian and biking bridge mid river between north and south Keswick. They were going to link trail sections.
Both high schools are on the south side and some public schools who have students to the north. There have been reports in the past of student taking a short cut across of the river as kids are apt to do and falling the through the ice. So it is also a safety concerns plus we all know how busy and hectic Woodbine and Leslie can be. [sic]

This is the first time that I am hearing about the proposed bridge linking north and south Keswick, and the issues kids and other pedestrians have been facing accessing different parts of town and public services, but from what I have now read and seen, it seems like a reasonable and viable option to promote safe passage.

In the name of fairness, her email continues and sheds some light on why there is opposition to the bridge:

Neighbours close to the bridge do have concerns of litter, noise, public access, loss of privacy, vandalism and I think people should know that.

So, this is not a post to make you take one side and not the other.  This post is to inform more people that these discussions are taking place and decisions are being made and if you want to have your thoughts, comments or opinions on the issue heard, now is the time.  The documents I’m linking to were provided to me by the same reader and I hope that you’ll take a moment to look at the map of the trail system, with the proposed changes and submit your comments using the official Comment Sheet (provided here in pdf format).  Unfortunately, time is of the essence to have your opinion heard and the comments are to be returned by fax or mail by Tuesday, June 19th (that’s next week!).

Below is a picture of what the bridge may look like once completed (to give you an idea of the scale of this project):

The bridge over the East Holland River – as an example of what is being proposed for Keswick.

Here is a thumbnail of the existing trails and proposed changes (which the emailer states is from the 2004) – click to enlarge:

Questions for the town on this issue should be directed to the Department of Engineering for the Town of Georgina – Zaidun Alganabi, email:  zalganabi@georgina.ca

And my thoughts?  Well, I personally (as opposed to professionally?) think that the bridge sounds like a good idea, but I understand why local residents are concerned and I hate change almost as much as the next person so I truly empathize with them.  BUT, the question remains: Is the bridge for the greater good?  If it prevents one kid from falling through the ice while trying to get to school (or while running away from school, whatever), then yes.  The greater good is served by having the bridge.

And on a separate but timely rant:  The only way we earn our right to complain about the way things are run is to get off our collective asses and speak up when we become aware of things going on around us and we feel the outcome will affect  our lives directly or indirectly.  There are enough bar-stool-perching and couch-sitting know-it-alls in the world.  Local issues like this one need REAL community input and involvement in order to make it a place you WANT to live instead of just a place you DO live.

Oh, and by the way, the guy sitting next to you at the bar, where you are holding court and imparting all of your political and philosophical theories about the viability or need for this bridge?  Well, he’s been passed out for the last half hour and his wife will be there soon to pick him up (so you may want to distance yourself from that one).  But why not get brave, maybe be heard, dare to care enough to use the Comment Sheet and let your ideas help to work towards a solution for change?

*Now, jumping off my soapbox now before someone comes along and pushes me off.  Bastards.

P.S. Easier to walk somewhere = fewer cars on the roads = a greener planet.  Or else it = me being able to get where I’m going faster because everyone else is walking on the new picturesque bridge ;)

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