One of the most common ideas floated in objection to the cement plant proposal for L’Orignal is the idea of bringing in clean business, high tech or similar ideas, all of which make great sense. Unfortunately there have been very few concrete suggestions as to who, what, how or why.
In the January 6 edition of the Globe and Mail there is an excellent article promoting the positive impact of companies locating in small communities. It stresses most of the advantages that we who live here already know…commuting time, real estate costs, taxes etc. As this thinking grows we have an opportunity to capitalize, increase our tax base and bring young, talented people to our Township.
One of the deterrents of course is that while we are but one hour from Montreal and Ottawa, to outsiders that appears insurmountable. Those who currently commute can attest to how mind numbing this drive can become. Also, the price of gas is not going down any time soon.
So let’s think outside the box. There has been much debate about the future of the Prescott Russell Recreational Trail. The Counties do not want to pour money into a little used asset. One of the issues is that the trail remains the property of the railway. Additionally, the City of Ottawa is resisting the influx of eastern Ontario commuters using their roadways and we know that traffic through Rockland is not fun. Don’t get me wrong, I love the trail. The fact that if my knees hold up I can ride my bike from St. Eugene to Navan is an amazing opportunity but I digress.
What if we had an electrically powered light rail service that ran regularly on this existing rail bed that stopped at the main municipalities along the way. What would we gain in time, environmental impact and as important, the ability to broaden the development of our area in a clean, intelligent manner.