The Town of Sutton has launched a project, led by the recreation department, to promote active living amongst its residents. As a part of its Coeur villageois action plan, an initiative started by Tourisme Cantons-de-L’Est that helps promote the development and the unique tourist characteristics of villages across the Eastern Townships, and its policy for families and seniors, the town has installed 10 active circuits around the village. These active circuits are meant to encourage residents to pick up an alternative mode of transport, like walking and cycling, to stay active. The project has been in the works for the last few months and the town council plans to install additional circuits in the future.
“We are a member of Coeur villageois, which tends to promote that kind of initiative,” said Pascal Smith, general director for the town. “It’s one of many endeavors like this that will take place throughout the year and the years to come.”
While the village already has various walking and hiking trails available to its residents that criss-cross its woods and mountains, the active circuits provide something different and make the downtown core more accessible.
They are actually circuits that were already being created by citizens, and already in use, we just mapped them. They are urban circuits, in the streets, which is different from P.E.N.S. or the Village Montagne circuit, Smith said.
Each circuit presents a different experience for users. They are all of various lengths, from 1.5km , and I think the longest one is 8.5 km., varied either in length or inclination. They offer different points of view on different mountains or different sites in Sutton and cover roughly 15km of the village, Smith noted.
There are active circuits that pass through two cemeteries, the Grace Anglican Church Cemetery, and the Fairmount Cemetery, a cause of concern for some residents. The town did collaborate with the cemetery committees to ensure that they were okay with the project, but no public consultation was held.
In general people appear to be very happy with the circuits and it’s an opportunity for people to reclaim the history of Sutton, Smith noted. “When you walk in the graveyard, you see names and dates, and it’s not unusual to have some circuits go in or in front of cemeteries. Cemeteries are something important for the community and the circuits are a way for those people to know the history of Sutton.”
In an email to Brome County News, Tim Smart, Reverend for Grace Anglican Church, and Gail Booth, Chair of the Fairmount Cemetery Committee, both confirmed that the Grace Anglican Church Cemetery and Fairmount Cemetery gave the town permission to be included in the active circuit with Booth noting that many people in Sutton, and elsewhere, enjoy walking through cemeteries. They did not want to comment further on the matter.
To encourage people to take advantage of the circuits and to discover the village, the town also collaborated with Coop Gym Santé Sutton, which has a weekly walking group, to inaugurate the circuits in Jan. and to coordinate three outings for residents. “It’s important to specify that the circuits are not intended for tourists. It’s something we did mainly for our residents. That’s something that differentiates them from the other circuits that we have,” Smith said.“We are very proud of the circuits and the work that has been done with our recreation department and the Coeur villageois initiative. We received lots of positive comments and we are building on that.”