Wednesday, September 27, 2023

North Hatley divided over Greenway relocation

This is believed by the MRC of Memphrémagog, which has included this modification of the route of the Green Route in the territory of the canton of Hatley and the town of North Hatley among the intervention priorities of its bicycle master plan 2022-2030, supported by its vision by Vélo Québec.

However, even if it had been mentioned several times in the past, this change is not received as a letter in the mail in North Hatley.

Rejected by the majority of councilors in a public session at the beginning of August, it has since fueled debate in the town.

On the other bank of the Massawippi

On the one hand, supporters of the change believe that cyclists are no longer safe on the shoulders of Route 108, also known as Chemin de Capelton. This is a kilometer of carriageway designated on a busy road to connect the heart of the village and the Massawippi axis, which is part of the Grandes-Fourches network of the city of Sherbrooke. The road is narrow, there are culverts and piles of gravel, and it can pass up to 400 vehicles per hour at peak times.

The Current Parkway Connects The Axis Of The Massawippi And The Heart Of The Town Of North Hatley Via Route 108. The Planned Modification To The Memphrémagog Mrc Bicycle Master Plan Would Take Cyclists To The Other Bank Of The Massawippi Via The Chemin Vaughan, Chemin De La Rivière, Rue Laprise And Rue Des Vétérans.

The alternative is to have cyclists travel along the other bank of the Massawippi, crossing the North Hatley Dam on Vaughan Road and taking a route that should run along Rivière Road and Laprise and Veterans Streets.

On the status quo side, we particularly regret that part of this alternative route passes through private land, that we have not provided any information about the traffic and speed of cyclists who would pass through a residential neighborhood, and that we have not consulted these taxpayers. .

“The councilors who were not in favor took into consideration the points mentioned above and concluded that this project was not in the best interest of our town,” explain councilors Carrol Haller, Danielle Dupré, Elizabeth Fee and Andrew J. Pelletier in a joint publication published in the Friends of North Hatley website.

“We are concerned by the fact that an influx of numerous cyclists heading towards the city center represents a significant safety risk,” they add, while being “in favor of a dialogue with the MRC and Vélo Québec on how to improve” the section. that passes over Route 108.


Mayor Marcella Davis Gerrish and Councilman Michel Desrosiers spoke in favor of the new route.

They have the support of several citizens, including Jacques Campbell, former mayor of North Hatley, and Michael Grayson, who, as a former cycle path planner, remembers that the Chemin de la Rivière option had already been defended 30 years ago without anyone would bother to study seriously.

Mr Grayson today believes that North Hatley Council was clumsy in putting the issue on the agenda without further preparation. And he hopes the city council can rectify the situation by at least agreeing to commission a study to compare the two scenarios.

“For me it is clear that it is the best option (for the Chemin de la Rivière), he says. It’s black and white. The current shoulders (on 108) are inadequate. “It’s an accident that’s going to happen one day and it’s surprising it hasn’t happened yet.”

In Hatley Township

In the canton of Hatley, the MRC proposal has not yet been presented, much less debated by the municipal council, stresses Mayor Vincent Fontaine.

At first glance, however, he is in favor of the idea, as long as the changes are funded from the MRC or Green Route bicycle budget.

In the territory of the municipality of Hatley, the alteration of the route would mainly involve reaching an agreement with a landowner on a right of way to connect Chemin Vaughan and Chemin de la Rivière.

Some fear that it will be necessary to resort to expropriation to pass through this place, but Mr. Fontaine believes that this would not be necessary since the Municipality already owns lots along the river.

According to him, perhaps a strip one or two meters wide by 100 meters long would have to be acquired in an agricultural environment.

“This is not an expropriation of a house. We are talking about reclaiming land to expand our footprint along the river. “It would be a symbolic expropriation because this land is not used.”

— Vincent Fontaine, Mayor of the Canton of Hatley

“But we’re not there yet,” adds Mayor Fontaine.

To the point of death

Faced with numerous reactions to the rejection of the new layout, North Hatley City Council invited citizens to speak directly with elected officials during their monthly business meeting in late August.

The Shoulder Of Route 108 In North Hatley Is Narrow And Riddled With Obstacles That Impair The Safety Of Cyclists, Especially Young Families.

The exercise, however, did not change anything in the position of elected officials, according to Mayor Gerrish, who did not want to return to the issue in an interview with The Tribune.

By email he simply stated that nothing further will happen in this matter, “unless the municipality decides to go ahead with the project, in which case North Hatley council will be able to decide whether it wishes to re-examine the application.

“The proposed road and the request made to North Hatley were (premature) considering that most of the work is done in the borough and it is far from necessary to ask our borough for this,” Ms Gerrish adds.

“As for the rumors about the widening of the Capelton road, it is a numbered road and the MTQ (Ministry of Transport) has been very clear that if someone wanted to widen this road they would allow the work but would not be involved financially at any level. whatever,” he also insisted.

Finally, note that since the beginning of May, the MTQ agreed to reduce the speed to 30 km/h in the town of North Hatley, on a stretch of approximately 350 meters of Route 108 on both sides of Main Street.

This change is being made to ensure the safety of road users, cyclists and pedestrians and will remain in effect until the end of the tourist season on October 31. The Ministry is also carrying out a pilot project with the incorporation of expanded speed bumps at the height of the two pedestrian crossings in this sector.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
Latest news
Related news