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Pedestrian-only access at Puslinch Lake approved by council

The project is budgeted at 10 thousand dollars and will include a new trail, bench, fencing, and decorations

PUSLINCH ‒ A long-anticipated design concept for the Travelled Road public access point at Puslinch Lake has finally been approved. 

Featuring a new trail, bench, fencing, and decorations, acting CAO and municipal clerk Courtenay Hoytfox presented the $10,000 investment as a way to make the Travelled Road public access point to Puslinch Lake more inviting while delineating private and public land. 

The decision follows McClintock’s Trailer Resort and Ski School restricting access to its beach and boat launch to guests and customers in July 2020.

But Coun. Russel Hurst was concerned that adjacent land owners hadn't been notified of the new plans for construction. 

"Nobody likes surprises," said Hurst. "This can be a contentious access point so I think anything the township can do to be proactively communicating should be communicated as soon as possible."

Hurst also supported Coun. John Sepulis' request that less "yankable" signage be added to the proposed site design considering previous issues with vandalism and theft on site. 

According to Hoytfox, the current design proposal does not include replacing the previous markers because they feel the design concept itself will delineate it.

Staff will continue to monitor the land for vandalism. 

She also clarified that the decision to make the access point pedestrian-only won't prevent discussions with the City of Cambridge and the GRCA about future parking options.

However, Coun. Sara Bailey asked for a bike rack included in the design. 

"Because we are not allowing parking to be anywhere near there due to how tight (the space) is, I'm thinking the public coming might be coming in on a bicycle," said Bailey. "Then they'll have somewhere to put their bike while they're walking down a lovely path." 

While they agreed to include the request in the designs, Sepulis didn't understand why someone would need to park a bike "if they can't walk anywhere," and Mayor James Seeley suggested that residents visiting the public access point leave their bikes "against a rock."  

"My kid is not allowed to lay my bike on the ground," said Bailey. "It's just a suggestion, we can add it at a later time but I think it's appropriate since we're doing the work." 

Mike Fowler, director of public works, parks, and facilities, said that a bike rack would cost approximately $500 and that he would report back to council with an update. 

Following up on previous discussions about resident-constructed docks blocking the right of way, Seeley asked staff to contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) for an update as he's concerned that the docks will be used as public property. 

"(We did place) signs to advise the public that the docks are not publically owned or maintained docks and that they're to be used at your own risk," said Hoytfox. "So the public has been made aware and likewise staff, when we could reach the dock owners, communicated this to them.

Hoytfox also said that while the township had a number of meetings with the MNRF concerning legislation around docks and jurisdictions of bodies of water, there has been no follow-up on the outcome of reaching out to the owners. 

Considering the work will be completed by public works staff, Hoytfox said that completion dates are subject to staff availability but that the start goal is October.

Isabel Buckmaster is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.

About the Author: Isabel Buckmaster, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Isabel Buckmaster covers Wellington County under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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