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In response to David McLeish's letter regarding the paving of the trail at Harrision Park, my concern is not with making the trail accessible which I think is a laudable goal but rather the decision to use asphalt. It appears to me that this decision is based on short-term financial considerations and immediate ease of application rather than a thorough examination of what material will provide a firm and stable base for access, fit the geographical and climate conditions, require the least amount of maintainence, and harmonize with the environment. The National Center on Accessibility says:
"Deciding on a surface material for an accessible trail will take time and effort...A thorough evaluation of your needs and comprehensive research into the materials and their suppliers should ensure an accessible trail surface that can be enjoyed by all visitors." (Access Today, Fall 2001)
Unless the City of Owen Sound is not communicating effectively, I don't think this was done. Without a thorough evaluation we may end up with a path that is accessible for a few years but which becomes inaccessible due to poor fit to the environment, maintainence costs, or other factors. Perhaps asphalt would be found to be the best material but unless a thorough evaluation is done, that will be unknown.

Meg Dean

Owen Sound




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