Chorley trail switchback raises concerns

The proposed rebuilding of a trail in Chorley Park in Rosedale is causing some accessibility advocates to be concerned about whether the plan as it stands now will actually be a benefit.

At a Jan. 21 city meeting, they gave their feedback on the plans for the Chorley trail switchback, a proposed trail going from the top of a hill to the bottom in Chorley Park, switching back and forth three times at 180-degree angles, and making the trail less steep and more manageable for people with mobility issues.

Peter Athanasopoulos, manager of public policy and government relations for Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, said his main concern has to do with the lack of a connecting path between the top of the trail and Douglas Road, which had been proposed in an earlier draft of the switchback plan last year.

He says not having a connecting path between the trail and Douglas Drive benefits only able-bodied users.

“They’re going to keep walking and get to Douglas Drive, whereas the other people are going to have to turn around and go back (down the trail),” Athanasopoulos said. “So, in retrospect, if they don’t connect it then the longer path will be a disservice.”

The proposed trail is 450 metres long, compared to the current 90-metre path. Jason Diceman, of the city’s public consultation unit, said the longer trail has been a concern for some Rosedale residents, who feel it is an “inconvenience.”

Finding the balance between the two has been a challenge for Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, Ward 27, but she says there is some common ground in that everyone has the same goal.

“One of the things I think everyone can agree on … is that we need to improve the trail,” she said.

The plan for the trail is not yet finalized and is still in the midst of consultations. A final plan is expected to be proposed later this year.