VROOM. This is…VROOM…what biking…VROOM…on Grey Road 19…VROOM…might sound like…VROOM…if the proposed Castle Glen Resort Community gets built.
Grey Road 19 is one gem of a cycling route. Grey County proudly promotes this road, the former site of the Sea Otter Canada and Blue Mountains Gran Fondo rides, on its Cycling Routes roadmap. Grey Road 19 is a local favourite training ride for its long gradient, wide shoulders, expansive views and light traffic.
But what is being done to protect this regional attraction?
One thousand, six hundred new homes. Three hundred additional hotel rooms. Three added golf courses. An approved 5,000 square meters of new commercial space. Another gas station. We have to wonder, how much extra traffic would the planned Castle Glen development create on Grey Road 19?
The studies haven’t been done. But we can hazard a guess.
Imagine each of those planned houses has just one car—a conservative estimate to be sure. If one car leaves every home in the future Castle Glen Resort Community each morning, between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. That’s 1,600 cars over two hours. That works out to 13 cars going by every minute, or one car every 4.5 seconds, for two straight hours. Then the same pattern repeated in every afternoon.
Or, say one car journey per household per day, spread evenly over 10 hours from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. That adds up to 3,200 cars on Grey Road 19 (one trip out and back for 1,600 cars). That’s 5.3 cars per minute. Just plain math.
One car every 12 seconds. All day long.
That’s the added traffic, on top of what exists today. And we haven’t even considered the guests at the 300-room hotel or people heading to golf.
Would you want to bike on such a road? Would you hike beside it, or in a nearby forest now filled with highway sounds? A popular section of the Bruce Trail follows the shoulder of the Grey Road 19, and this added traffic creates a dangerous mix of pedestrians and many, many cars.
And what about traffic on Sideroad 12, the extension to Sixth Street that borders the other side of the Castle Glen development, a secluded gravel backroad that’s so popular with local walkers that it’s Collingwood’s de facto outdoor stair master?
Nor do those numbers don’t take into account the potential years of heavy truck traffic from constructing 1,600 homes, or the roads and amenities to service them. And of course the proposed hotel rooms, golf courses and shops. Building an entire town on the brow of the Niagara Escarpment, the heart of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, is an outdated development concept that would surely be rejected if it were put forward today.
Don’t take for granted that our quiet Escarpment roads will always be welcoming to walk and ride. As the song goes, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Isn’t it time we established protection for the recreational amenities most cherished by locals and visitors alike, the very foundation of the region’s recreation economy, before it’s too late?