The opening of the trail behind Holy Cross Catholic Church which leads to the Cranberry Hill subdivision. Photo by Jane Kinnear.

Whisperings on social media about the potential loss of a private access trail that traverses the property of the Holy Cross Catholic Church have been confirmed as untrue. A local resident who uses the trail had contacted the Times with info from an unnamed source, stating that the Church had plans to build a fence on their property line which would effectively cut off access to the trail. The resident also noticed cut branches at the trail opening on Church property which they took as an initial warning to “keep out”. 

An anonymous social media user also created a post about the issue in a Kemptville group which led to plenty of discussion amongst locals. While some expressed sadness at potentially not being able to use the trail in the near future, the consensus seemed to support the Church’s right to do what it wishes with private property. 

No doubt many will be glad to hear that there are no plans for a fence after all. “I did look into the matter as I was not aware of any plans to build a fence,” said Father Raymond J. de Souza of the Holy Cross Catholic Church. “After checking, there are no plans to build a fence. We have been doing a good amount of tree trimming behind the church of late, and some of the branches were piled up along the pathway entrance. The pathway has been open to pedestrians since last week, and I am told that the remaining branches are being removed shortly as that work is completed.”

One of the issues that came up in relation to the false rumour of the trail being blocked off is the problem of safety in the streets surrounding the Church. “The (well kept) private trail has been the only access to Pinehill Road and George Street,” writes the anonymous resident who first forwarded the concern. “(It is) an easier path than going through the secret trail from Cranberry Cresc. to Galens Way and to Clothier. If the secret path gets blocked due to increasing demands, that would leave Somerville Road. Somerville Road has no sidewalks, narrow shoulders and danger from speeding vehicles. The corner between Cranberry and Clothier/Cty Rd 18 is a dangerous area because the drivers don’t see you at the hill when the road curves.” 

Many social media users agreed strongly with these safety concerns which of course have nothing to do with the Church. “About the related issues of the provision of sidewalks and other paths, I simply do not know what the Municipality’s plans might be,” Father de Souza added. “Your concerned resident likely worries that, lacking public provision, (they) must rely on traversing private property – the parish’s property – which (they have) apparently done since 1996. We are good neighbours, but (they are) correct that other provisions should be made, as private property ought not be a public passageway.” 

Asked for clarification on whether residents who use the trail should stop doing so, Father de Souza gave a clear answer. “At the moment, the Parish has no plans to change the status quo, but the concerned resident raises issues that should be addressed,” he said. “Perhaps in time the Municipality will address them.”


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