Sunday, May 13, 2012

Farmers still fighting planned new Chateauguay Valley/Haut-St-laurent rail-to-trail bike path

Local farmers are still fighting the planned new Chateauguay Valley/Haut-St-Laurent rail-to-trail bike path on an abandoned rail line through the beautiful Chateauguay Valley. 

Farmers against recreo-touristic economic development opportunity

Cycle Fun Montreal supports this excellent new bike path development.

We think this kind of rail-to-trail bike path development is a great opportunity to diversify the local economy.  New income opportunities in rural areas don't come knocking every day, and cycling tourism is already big business in Quebec. Many other rural areas in Quebec are benefiting from cycling tourism dollars, except the Haut-St-Laurent. It is time this changed.  The Haut-St-Laurent is on Montreal's doorstep, and is extremely well located to benefit from this regional tourism development.

Ormstown village was recently a finalist in La Presse newspaper's Most Beautiful Villages in Quebec competition.  It is time we stopped ignoring the economic value in rural scenery and heritage value of our small towns. And, we can honestly say, the Chateauguay Valley has some of the nicest rural scenery and heritage villages in Quebec.

Some people would prefer that their rural regions and villages die a slow painful economic death rather than accept new opportunities that are already proven to work in other parts of Quebec. 

Elsewhere in the same edition of the The Gleaner/La Source Alain Castagner, the mayor of St-Anicet and the Prefect of the MRC, says that opposition to the path is falling and people are seeing the benefits of having the bike path come into existence.   "We intend to make every effort to make sure we are good neighbours," he said.

In one other report in that local paper this week, a health survey of 4400 local citizens said that 72% of residents do not get 90 minutes of physical exercise per week. A whopping 70% had health risk factors such as hypertension and being overweight. The good news is that 67% of residents surveyed wanted to get in better health.  This new bike path can also be considered as a positive action on the public health front.  And unlike most other forms of exercise, riding a bicycle is actually fun.

As people who ride bike all over Quebec, we are constantly amazed at the range of people we see outside riding their bicycles.  And we know MANY people who prefer to just get off the road, and ride in peace on a bike path like the one being built in the Haut-St-Laurent.

We should note that a section of this bike path already exists, from Ste-Martine to route 203 in Tres-St-Sacrement near Howick village. And this section is already popular. It also connects to the Richelieu river and the St-Laurence river/Beauharnois canal bike paths.   I see the opportunity for a weekend style loop rides around the entire Monteregie region, much like the P'tit train du Nord features multi-day bike ride opportunities with overnights at local B&B and Gites.

In fact, we think we'll go there right now... "Ride that bike" is our advice and we think we'll take it, now that the rain has stopped and a beautiful day has arrived.

Go Haut-St-Laurent bike path!


At 1:28 PM, Blogger Hobbes vs Boyle said...

So from where to where is the new path supposed to go? On Openstreetmap one can see the current state, I suppose: I'd really like to go riding down there but I will probably have to wait until the ferry to Chateauguay will be in operation again.


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