Former Olympic cyclist adds his name to petition opposing Kunda Park developer plans
He lives in St. Catharines, but Steve Bauer is emphatic that his heart is still in Pelham.
“It’s all quite nostalgic,” said the 61-year-old, casting a glance over his shoulder at the playing fields of Glynn A. Green Public School.
“I went to elementary school there, and attended E. L. Crossley and Pelham High. My parents still live in Fenwick.”
Bauer retired from competitive cycling in 1996, and has been inducted into both the Canadian Olympic Sport Hall of Fame and the Canadian Sport Hall of Fame. His many accomplishments include a silver medal in the 1984 Olympic road race (the first-ever medal for a Canadian in the event), and 11 appearances at the historic Tour de France, where he earned 14 yellow jerseys and a fourth-place overall in 1988.
Close to 25 years have gone by since the trail was named in Bauer’s honour, and he is clearly thrilled to see the foot traffic on a slushy Saturday afternoon.
“I’ve been here less than half an hour, and already a hundred people have gone past,” he said.
Some are walking their dogs, others pushing baby carriages. “You just hope it stands the test of time.”
Bauer was happy to see the resurfacing of the trail last summer, making it more user-friendly. But the current plans being discussed as part of the Kunda Park/Forest Park development have him shaking his head.
“This unobstructed corridor is a natural habitat, and to cross it with roadways, and vehicle traffic, just kind of destroys the whole concept of its priority use by pedestrians,” said Bauer. “This recreational trail is special to a lot of people…it’s something that should be preserved.”
The Pelham Tree Conservation Society, with local resident Mike Jones leading the charge, is lobbying hard to overturn the developer’s plans for the trail’s disturbance, and has circulated a petition which has attracted some 3300 signatures thus far.
Bauer and his wife, Josee Larocque, have both signed the petition, and Bauer vows to send letters to the Mayor, town councillors, and the developer in an effort to “voice my views, which are supported by a lot of people. Hopefully, we can adjust the developer’s plans. If there’s a will, there’s a way.”
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