The Northeast Avalon Planning Process: A Request for ECTA Members to attend the Public Consultation Sessions

Spurwink Island Path

Gord Follett

May 22, 2009

The Northeast Avalon Planning Process: A Request for ECTA Members to attend the Public Consultation Sessions

Friday, May 22, 2009

Dear Members;
I am writing to brief you on the Northeast Avalon Regional Planning process, its importance and relevance to the East Coast Trail Association, and to request your support and active participation in this very strategic regional planning process.

The Association is dedicated to the protection of the East Coast Trail right-of-way in perpetuity. We are also committed to maintaining the wilderness character of the hiking experience by preserving the natural environment on either side of the Trail. Our whole trail protection strategy is based on these two core requirements. Our objective is to provide the level of protection and recognition required to ensure the Trail’s long-term survival.

The hard reality for the Association is: the public access & rights-of-way of the East Coast Trail are unprotected and fragile at best. Existing provincial legislation and municipal land use planning and management offer inadequate or no protection for the Trail and our coastal lands. In addition, we are experiencing a rapid increase in the number of new and potential land developments that are aggressively pushing on the Trail. This trend continues to intensify, and coupled with the lack of protection, poses a very serious threat to the Trail.

The East Coast Trail, while making a significant economic, environmental, and social contribution to the communities of this region, has not been secured with the preservation and protective measures required to ensure its long-term survival. Please read East Coast Trail / The Challenge & the Opportunity for a brief background statement on the challenge and the critical need for us to engage in the Northeast Avalon Regional Planning process.

The Department of Municipal Affairs has initiated the Northeast Avalon Regional Planning process (NEAR Plan). This new plan will guide the development and decision making within the region over the next 25 years. The Public Consultation process for the NEAR Plan is about to begin, and three sessions have been scheduled.

Witless Bay, Tuesday, May 26th, 7:00 – 9:00 pm, Kinsmen Community Centre, Southern Shore Highway.

Mount Pearl, Wednesday, May 27th, 7:00 – 9:00 pm, Soccer Hut, Arena Road off Smallwood Drive.

Torbay, Thursday, May 28th, 7:00 – 9:00 pm, Kinsmen Community Centre, 8 Kinsmen Place, Bauline Line.

The NEAR Plan will deliver a provincial government policy document that will provide a vision for the future and set out land use planning goals and objectives for the region. This is a strategic initiative and key opportunity for the Association. We have to be seen and heard at these sessions . . . the desired outcome “firm, secure trail protection within the Northeast Avalon” is a result we must achieve. Please click on the link East Coast Trail / Statement of Principles for the Northeast Avalon Regional Plan for more information on the Association’s trail protection requirements.

I am placing this call to all our members on behalf of the Board of Directors. We are asking you to come out to one of these events to discuss the issues facing the East Coast Trail. We need your help . . . working together our combined voices can make a difference. The long-term survival of the Trail is at stake. Please make the time in your schedule to attend and offer your voice in support of the East Coast Trail.

Thank you.

Randy Murphy
President, East Coast Trail Association