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Public gets insight into Almonte Riverwalk extension to Coleman Island

Carleton Place Almonte Canadian Gazette
September 12, 2017

The next phase of Almonte’s Riverwalk is within sight and seeks to enhance the existing recreational and heritage offerings in town.

Several members of the public came out to learn more about the concept plan for the Riverwalk extension to Coleman Island during an open house Aug. 21 at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum. Displays and maps were set up with an opportunity “to look at concepts and encourage people to provide comments on the concepts,” noted CAO Diane Smithson.

The plans, created by Lashley + Associates Corp. feature a 3 km extension with a trail along Coleman Island, right by the textile museum and incorporates the important role woolen mills played in Almonte’s history with the renewal of the Mill Workers’ Pathway that connects to the existing Riverwalk, as well as Lanark County’s new Ottawa Valley Recreation Trail on the former CP Rail line and the Pinehurst gatehouse property. It will highlight heritage aspects such as the Rosamond Woollen Mill, the textile museum, Coleman Island Park, railway trestle and rail station as it winds between Union Street, near Thomas Street, to the rail line. What could be called the crown jewel of the project is the proposed Mill Workers’ Staircase between Union Street and the former Rosamond Woollen Mill. It will be a timber structure with interpretive plaques.

“It’s a rebuild,” Smithson said, stating the staircase used to provide access for workers at the former mill. “There are plans to have a viewing platform at the top.”

The landscaping and pathway materials will be consistent with the existing Riverwalk and features proposed include flagstone pavers, accessible seating, interpretive signage, bike parking, lighting, etc.

Phase two of the Riverwalk carries a price tag of approximately $310,000, but Smithson said it’s a long-term project for the municipality, which will be funded 50 per cent through public fundraising and the Riverwalk advisory committee, and 50 per cent from taxation.

“We can’t do it if we don’t have the dollars,” she stated.

“I don’t see it happening tomorrow, but I think it will happen,” continued Mississippi Mills Coun. and Riverwalk advisory committee chair, Alex Gillis. “This is an opportunity to have three kilometres of Riverwalk in our community. It would be great for the local community and economic development.”

However, according to Gillis, the fundraising campaign for the next phase is starting to gather steam. Cash donations will be matched by the municipality.

“We’ve sent out 400 letters and we’ve started to get a fairly good response so far,” he said during the open house. “We certainly need all the help we can get though. I don’t see this project being a success without tangible support from the community.”

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