Markham has been praised lavishly for its plans to create livelier, better-connected live-work-play neighbourhoods, including an ambitious network of trails.
So town officials have been taken aback by the fervent opposition to their plans for a small gravel path and two bridges through a park near McCowan Road and Highway 7. The town wants to use part of a $4.5 million Ontario infrastructure grant to build the path, about two kilometres long.
The three-metre-wide path would connect the main streets of Unionville and Markham for pedestrians and cyclists. The crushed stone surface would discourage inline skating and racing bikes, and the trail wouldn’t be maintained in the winter so use would be confined mostly to the warmer months.
But the idea has divided residents, between those who fear it will attract too many users and destroy a precious natural area, and those who want to encourage broader community access.
The sides are so bitterly divided that one path supporter begged that his name not be published, for fear of antagonizing his neighbours.