by Rachel Everett-Fry, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
A new multi-use pathway has been constructed between Lydia Street North and Maley Street in Kemptville. Constructed by the Public Works Department of the Municipality of North Grenville, the path sits on a municipally-owned lot that had been vacant. The lot was, however, used by many pedestrians as a shortcut from the residential area near Curry Park to St. Michael’s Catholic High School, the Municipal Centre, or Shoppers Drug Mart.
Councillor Doreen O’Sullivan said that the path is “important for accessibility for pedestrians, for people with scooters or wheelchairs, or any older people.” The path can also accommodate bikes and strollers.
Councillor John Barclay explained that this path was, “a community ‘ask’ during the 2019 budget deliberations.” At that time, the request was declined. In 2020, the request was received and included in the budget, but, Councillor Barclay says, “was postponed in order to fund our Covid response. With Provincial funding replacing some of our Covid expenses, it got put back on the table.”
The path is a welcome addition to the community. When announced on social media, residents recalled feeling like they were trespassing when using the shortcut, or getting their boots full of snow when crossing the lot in the winter.
Council understands the path as an “asset for Active Transportation and Accessibility in Kemptville.” Councillor Barclay says that, “a key feature of Council’s Work Plan is to foster community connections. That includes physical connections, not just social connections.”
For Councillor O’Sullivan, the community’s enthusiasm for the new path reflects a widespread desire for greater connectivity, one that should be reflected in the Strategic Plan Survey. Residents can use this opportunity to advocate for more paths like this to be constructed in the future. The deadline to complete the survey is September 6. You can pick up a hard copy of the survey at the Library, or complete it online at: www.northgrenville.ca/live/community-involvement/north-grenville-strategic-plan.