Comprehensive plan for South Glengarry Peanut Line will go ahead

The Peanut Line recreational trail looking east from Boundary Road on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Council is expected to go ahead with a $40,000 comprehensive plan to look at the future of the trail, including who can use it and what sections of the 31 kilometer trail the municipality should keep or sell. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

LANCASTER – It looks like South Glengarry will spend up to $40,000 to do a comprehensive plan for the Peanut Line.

Acting Recreation and Facilities Director Dave Robertson told council during a special meeting this week (March 30) the trail was bought in 2009 and essentially nothing has been done since then other than “minimal maintenance.”

The 31 kilometer trail runs east and west across South Glengarry from Boundary Road to the Quebec border. Part of the problem is farmers with abutting property to the trail have “farmed right through” an eight kilometer eastern section of the trail.

Planning General Manager Joanne Haley says a trail master plan would look at developing the trail and creating links between the City of Cornwall and Quebec while creating tourism opportunities. It would also look at what users would be allowed on the trail and whether the township should sell off portions of it. With many views on what should be done with the trail, Haley says an independent consultant is the best route to go.

Deputy Mayor Lyle Warden likes the idea of a plan. “I think having this type of a master plan could potentially help us in securing funding the future. I think this is a necessary tool.”

But Coun. Sam McDonell believes now is not the time to spend the money on a report and the municipality should be concentrating on the “obviously issues” with the trail.

“I’m not prepared to spend $40,000 on a report. I think the money would be better spent finishing the work we know we need to do at this point,” he said. He believes a plan that council wants to be more like $80,000.

Coun. Martin Lang was on the fence.

“I think the residents using the Peanut Line would like to see we’re looking after our asset before they see us spending money doing a study on this which is putting off doing what we should have done all along,” Coun. Martin Lang said. However, he agreed to go ahead with the RFP noting that the “writing’s on the wall” that a majority of council want the plan.

Coun. Stephanie Jaworski says the work has to be done but there needs to also be independent outside help to do the consultation. “I do really think we need to have a plan and if we keep talking about a plan we’re never actually going to make the plan,” she said.

The possible $40,000 spend on a plan is not included in this year’s budget and is not included in the $34,000 in maintenance and $75,000 in capital work budgeted this year. There are plans do grading on 18 kilometers of trail.

The resolution to go ahead with an RFP (request for proposal) for a Peanut Line Master Plan – deferred from the March 15 council meeting – is expected to be passed Tuesday night (April 6).

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