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Heritage Trail

Proposal:  That the City of Kitchener create a Signature Park and Heritage Trail by purchasing Hidden Valley and combining the trails in Hidden valley with existing trails in Homer Watson Park and the GRCA portion of the Walter Bean Trail from Freeport to the new trail bridge at Doon.
 
 Features of the Signature Park/Heritage Trail

• A continuous 14 km bike/hike trail and inner-city park from Freeport Flood Plain along the east side of the Grand River on the current Walter Bean Trail to the Pioneer Tower Flood  Plain  and thenew pedestrain bridge at Doon, then  through  Homer Watson Park and culminating in Hidden Valley. This 14 km trail would connect three areas proposed in the Park Master Plan (PMP) as adopted by Kitchener Council on 29 September, 2010.
• Identifies and connects unique historical features of early contributions to settlement in this area such as the Pioneer Tower, Pioneer graveyard, the Schoerg and Betzner houses, the Waterloo Region History Museum and the Homer Watson House.
• Meets the mandate of Provincial Places to Grow Act. Kitchener’s downtown population, expected to increase by 40,000 residents, needs water, sewers, housing, libraries and social services as well as parks and green space.  To maintain the current ratio of 0.665 ha of parkland per 100 residents, Kitchener must acquire 552 ha of parkland by 2031. Currently, about 125 ha of the proposed park/trail area are publicly owned; action now will secure the remaining land for a Signature park and Heritage Trail.
 
• Accessible by public transportation. The Region’s proposed Rapid Transit plans (bus or LRT) designate Fairview Mall as a transportation hub that will provide access by public transport to the new park, a short walk away. This is the only land along the proposed transit corridor that will offer this easy access.

 

 

Celebrating the Past – Planning for the Future

Both quality of life and tourism depend on parkland and green space. All great cities embrace and protect their waterfronts – lake, ocean or river—as active public spaces. Toronto has High Park, Ottawa/Hull has Gatineau Park; we cannot imagine Vancouver without Stanley Park or New York City without Central Park. The time to create a new park to celebrate the founding of our city and the heritage Grand River is now.
We recommend the City of Kitchener:
• set park and trail creation as a high priority
• acquire the necessary properties for a Grand River  Signature Park and Heritage Trail, and
• adjust the capital budget accordingly.
 
Creating a Heritage Trail

• The Park Master Plan suggests seven areas along the Grand River be considered for a corridor park.
• Areas 5 (The Freeport Floof Plain ), 6(Hidden Valley ESPA & Floodplain ) and 7 ( Pioneer Tower Flood Plain ) can be joined to create a Signature Park and Heritage Trail that will celebrate our past and provide for future generations.
• The new pedestrian bridge  at the Doon Golf course will be essential at the south end to link both sides of the river. Completion is set for July, 2012.
 

 
Highlights of the Heritage Trail

• The natural and historical areas on both sides of the Grand River between Doon Golf Course in the south and Freeport in the north are a significant part of the heritage of the City of Kitchener and Waterloo Region.
• Plaques could be used to identify such significant historical features as the original homesteads at Pioneer Tower and Doon, identify specific natural heritage features  and explain connections to the last ice age.
• Several smaller loop trails could be constructed : (1) Inside Hidden Valley , (2) From A to Q to B around the Hidden Valley Estates , (3) In Homer Watson Park , (4) On the Pioneer Flood Plain and (5) In Freeport area.

 
 The slide show starts at Hidden Valley and proceeds through Homer WAtson Park to the new pedestrian bridge across the Grand River. The tour continues through the Pioneer Flood Plain to Pioneer Tower and then along the Walter Bean Trail to Freeport.
                             [ Slide show under nconstruction ]
 
 

Grand River Trail and Hidden Valley 2012

 
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