- QNetNews.ca - http://www.qnetnews.ca -

Loyalist bike path creating awareness for the Indigenous community

The bike path located at the back of Loyalist College’s Kente building, near the townhouses, officially opened in mid-August and is now available for the public to use. Photo courtesy of Shira Rubinoff

By Maria Toews [1]

BELLEVILLE – The newly opened bike path at Loyalist College is creating opportunities for the Indigenous community here at the college. 

“They’ve really thought it out and of course it’s been a long time coming,” said Paul Latchford, the Manager of Indigenous Services at Loyalist. “We’ve been bugging for a couple decades to have better access to the city of Belleville.”

Since more people are using the trail, more people are passing the newly created A’nó:wara Learning Circle [2]. This space was completed a year ago and is located right next to the bike path.

Paul Latchford says there are plans to update the A’nó:wara Learning Circle this coming October by adding more seating. Photo via https://www.loyalistcollege.com/news/loyalist-college-unveils-new-anowara-learning-circle-outdoor-indigenous-space/ [2]

“I think (the path is) just bringing awareness to (the Circle) and again that is strategically why they built our new outdoor centre, A’nó:wara, which is the turtle, there. It’s fulfilling its opportunity to be where it is,” said Paul Latchford, the Manager of Indigenous Services at Loyalist. 

A’nó:wara is the Mohawk word for turtle and was created to celebrate Indigenous culture, tradition and ceremony. Latchford says he believes the college will also put up a plaque near the trail with the Indigenous community in mind.

“I think the college is putting up a plaque just to acknowledge the turtle because this is the traditional territories of the Anishnabek, Huron-Wendat and Haudenosaunee communities. The latter being my own community.” 

“It’s just an awareness,” he said. “People come and they want to know why it’s there and what it means. So that plaque will signify that.” 

There is no set date as to when the plaque will be put in place.

The trail [3] is 450 metres long and allows people to travel from the school over to downtown Belleville. This accessibility that both staff, students and members of the Belleville community have is much appreciated. 

“For students and staff if you live locally this provides you with the opportunity to go to and from the school without having to take public transit or drive your own vehicle. So there’s the sustainability benefit to that as well,” said Erin Murray, the manager of planning and sustainability at Loyalist College.

“Were not necessarily easy to access in some cases so now someone on a leisurely walk can come and explore the campus,” said Erin Murray. Photo by Maria Toews

“Seeing people on their bikes, walking their dogs, walking their young children, students walking to and from school. It’s just the most satisfying to see that it’s being utilized to its full potential,” she said.

“I went for a walk down the other day just to check it out and it’s pretty neat cause you’re actually pretty close to town. It’s surprising,” said Latchford. “If you have a skateboard or rollerblades you’d be in town in about two to three minutes.”

Murray says the welding program at the college will be making bike racks for the trail in the near future and the path will be available all year round, including winter time.

“We will have it maintained basically plowed, salted, etcetera throughout the year,” she said.