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From the Community Activism Files….

June 8, 2010

On the Southampton bike lane.  A bit late in posting, but this did get printed in the Beacon–and I even found out subsequently that they will in fact put in a bike lane!  You’ll now be able to bike from the Rez to the Point! 

To the Editor of the Saugeen Shores Shoreline Beacon

Re: Bike Lane from Southampton to Oliphant Proposed

The plan to create a bike lane between Southampton and Sauble Falls, and thence to Oliphant, deserves support.  I applaud the desire to allow tourists, cottagers and locals to come and go safely by bike or foot along County Road 13 between Sauble and Southampton.  But I would urge proponents of the plan to think outside the beach, for something important seems to be missing: direct access to Saugeen First Nation.

The plan speaks to the fact that a lot of Saugeen Shores’ tourist dollars result from high-season activity between Southampton and Sauble, but it also cites cottagers as potential users of the bike corridors as commuting paths.  If we are at all seriously interested in the needs of locals, perhaps we might wish to think in terms of something a little less glamorous: a straightforward cycle and pedestrian route between Southampton and the Reserve.

Such a link need not consist of more than a simple widened and paved shoulder with rumble strip along the north side of Highway 21 between County Road 13 and Craig Street.  Yet it would provide quick and easy connection between two communities that have not had the benefit of being united by anything akin to the Rail Trail or the Woodland Trail.

Granted, that section of Highway 21 is not a particularly photogenic stretch of roadway.  Yet I would think that safety should trump aesthetics, for it is a very dangerous place to bicycle or even walk, and unlike the proposed corridor on County Road 13, it receives a significant amount of cycle and pedestrian traffic year-round.  The objection that Saugeen First Nation is not a part of our Municipality may to be dismissed out of hand. Band members are a vital part of our manpower base and clientele, and the First Nation provides us a sizeable portion of our tourism revenue (consider how many kilometers of shoreline along County Road 13 consist of Reserve land).

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