Words from our Chair

January 2022

A look back at 2021

It’s been another notable season at Shadow Lake this past year. Once again, COVID-19 played a significant role in our plans and activities.

January and February saw the in-town trail get a lot of use as the snow was cleared by a dedicated group of volunteers led by Dave Lapierre and his ATV Plow.

ATV with snowplough on the trails

Above, the plough in action

Then another lockdown was imposed.

For a significant part of the spring, the trail was limited to Family “bubbles”. Our annual spring workday was cancelled for a second year, but many in the community went out in their bubbles to keep our trail looking great. Many of our normal activities were curtailed or postponed and our maintenance volunteers were restricted in their activities at first, and it was well into spring before some of the chores were attended to.

Above, clearing the trail and adding screenings 

The normal activities that would have unfolded during the summer season didn’t happen again this year, including the Farmers Market and Dragon Boat races. Trail users were still required to maintain a 2-meter distance from those not in their “bubble” while walking or cycling, and while launching their watercraft or fishing from the shore.

Our committee met through the summer by gathering outdoors while maintaining physical distancing, and later in the fall, we started meeting at the Gibbled Goose restaurant. (Thanks to Lorraine and staff for their great service!) Waterford’s Wishbone Brewing Co. also hosted a meeting in their new space – thanks Tyler!

As the COVID-19 restrictions eased we got back to work. In late June a boardwalk was installed at a new entrance to the recreation trail.

Above, building the fitness trail boardwalk

A new site map was added at the “hairpin” west of Black Bridge, along with smaller related signage for the fitness trail, as well as two new interpretive signs; one at the trailhead on Alice Street and one at the top of the stairs south of Black Bridge.

Above, installing new trail signage

Above, new interpretive signs sharing the history of Waterford

By mid-summer, Waterford Paddle Sports began to offer paddleboard rentals, lessons, guided tours, and SUP Yoga. The community uptake was very high, with paddleboarders out on the water several days a week.

Above, paddleboarders on the water

A new third dock was added, thanks to community donations, a team of volunteers who assembled and installed it, and in the generous donation of wood from Riddoch Lumber of Waterford.

Above, new dock along the banks of Shadow Lake

The signature event of the year though had to be the installation of the East Gap Bridge. We had been biding our time for the County to repurpose a surplus, temporary road bridge for our site. Unfortunately, after eight years of waiting the plan ultimately fell through. At the same time, many potential grant agencies were on hold because of COVID-19. In February, our committee decided that if we were ever going to get that gap bridged we needed to raise the funds ourselves. The plans for this were set in motion and by early June the Campaign was in full swing.

Above, signage overlooking the gap

Well! The support blew us away! Individuals, businesses and service clubs, many from Waterford, but greater Norfolk County and beyond as well, enthusiastically contributed to the campaign.

Stages of the bridge construction and installation day!

By mid-September we had received $124,000; $4,000 over our goal. Beyond the funds raised, Joanne Houghton of Infrastructure Ontario, Ryan Elliot of Vallee Engineering, and Bonnie Brevener of LPRCA were instrumental in keeping the engineering and permit process moving along expeditiously. That sort of fast reaction from the community deserved a prompt response from our group as well. We had given Eagle Bridge, our bridge supplier, a heads up in August on how well things were progressing so they were ready when the order was placed.  On November 10, 2021, the new bridge was gently lifted into place and the Gap was finally Bridged!

Above, a proud moment: thanking our generous donors

We will long remember the community support and we are grateful for the faith placed in us as a group. It certainly spurs us on to work toward future goals. These plans include paving the trail north to the 1st Concession, creating a continuous paved surface between the Waterford Heritage Trail and the Brant County Trails. As well, our vision includes a pavilion, permanent washroom facilities, and exercise equipment. Watch for a Native Grass plot to be planted this spring—Steve and Anita Buehner are spearheading this with ALUS. We also continue to improve our site signage.

We are fortunate to have a very motivated group, dedicated to making things happen and maintaining what we have built to date. The county has stepped up to maintain the parkland areas and is providing grass cutting and annual brush trimming along the trails.

As always, community support has been fantastic, with many different organizations plus numerous individuals providing financial and hands-on support. If you would like to particiapte in the ongoing growth and maintnenace of the trail, consider making a donation or becoming a member.

Thank you to our committee members, maintenance volunteers and our supporters. You all played a part that was crucial to our progress.

Andy Kooistra, Chair

Committee Members:
Katherine McCurdy-Lapierre, Secretary
Ross Coomber, Treasurer
Dave Lapierre
Mike McDonnell
Frank Woodcock
Doug Gatward

Archive

It’s been a memorable season at Shadow Lake this past year. January and February saw the in-town trail get a lot of use as the snow was cleared by a dedicated group of volunteers led by Dave Lapierre and his ATV Plow. Then Covid struck!

For a significant part of the spring, the trail was off-limits to users. Our annual spring workday was cancelled and even as the most restrictive pandemic regulations were lifted many of our normal activities were curtailed or cancelled. Our maintenance volunteers were restricted in their activities at first and it was well into summer before some of the chores were attended to.

The normal activities that would have unfolded during the summer season didn’t happen. The Farmers Market did not open, The Dragon Boat races were cancelled, and Paddleboard rentals were not initiated until late in the summer when Doug Gatward founded Waterford Paddle Sports. Users became accustomed to maintaining a 2-meter distance from those not in their “bubble” while walking or cycling the trail, launching their watercraft or fishing from the shore. It was a time when having the facilities to get out and enjoy the outdoors was more appreciated than ever.

Our committee still managed to meet through the summer by gathering outdoors while maintaining physical distancing, and later in the fall, with online ZOOM meetings. We installed Fishing Line Collection Stations at four locations and purchased the components for another dock to be assembled by volunteers and installed in the spring.

Future plans still include acquiring a bridge to span the East Gap and paving the trail to the 7th concession. The hope of acquiring a used Bailey bridge from the county fell through. Smaller, but just as significant, plans include planting indigenous trees and improving and expanding the Fitness Trail west of the Black Bridge. Our long-term strategic plan includes a pavilion and permanent washroom facilities.

We are fortunate to have a very motivated group, dedicated to making things happen and maintaining what we have built to date. The county has really stepped up to maintain the parkland areas and is providing annual brush trimming along the trails.

As always, community support has been fantastic, with 15 different organizations plus numerous individuals providing financial and hands-on support.

Thank you very much; all committee members, maintenance volunteers and all our supporters. You all played a part that was crucial to our progress.

Andy Kooistra, Chair

It’s been another enjoyable season at Shadow Lake this year. Most significantly we are happy to see the ever-growing use of the park and trail. We are seeing people of all ages out there enjoying the fresh air and beautiful surroundings. Be it on the trail, in the park, along the shores or on the water; doing so in all the ways we were hoping to promote.

This past summer we once again were able to welcome what has become an annual event; the dragon boat “race for the cure” fundraiser.

The Waterford Farmers Market was also in full swing every Wednesday through the summer months.

With strong support from local groups and Norfolk County, we were able to install water and electrical service to the open, gathering area. These new facilities will greatly enhance the enjoyment of our site, especially for large group events.

On a slightly more whimsical note, we installed a display of historical significance that featured antique weathervane-operated vents that were recovered from the old factory building across the street. A sign telling the story accompanies the artifacts.

Speaking of signs. There is a commemoration of the fallen in two world wars. The plaque, listing all who gave their lives for our freedom, can be seen in the parkette near St James St S.  Another one is an interpretive sign drawing attention to the marvellous way nature has regenerated the rail lands all on its own. This can be found near the West Gap bridge.

Future plans still include acquiring a bridge to span the East Gap and paving the trail to the 7th Concession. Smaller, but just as significant, plans include planting indigenous trees and installing another dock. Our long-term strategic plan includes a pavilion and permanent washroom facilities.

We are fortunate to have a very motivated group, dedicated to making things happen and maintaining what we have built to date. The county has really stepped up to maintain the parkland areas and is providing annual brush trimming along the trails.

As always, community support has been fantastic, with 15 different organizations plus numerous individuals providing financial and hands-on support.

Thank you very much; all committee members, maintenance volunteers and all our supporters. You all played a part that was crucial to our progress.

Andy Kooistra, Chair