Thanks to the ongoing efforts of the Town of Fort Erie and The Niagara Parks Commission (NPC), cyclists will soon be able to enjoy a seamless ride along the Niagara River Recreation Trail system between Riverwalk and Bowen Road.
The Town and Niagara Parks are happy to announce they will receive $250,000 in funding from the Provincial Government through the Ontario Municipal Cycling Infrastructure Program (OMCIP). Following its launch in July 2015, the two-year program provided municipalities with an opportunity to apply for funding (up to 50%) for cycling infrastructure projects. It included a two-phased application process, including the submission of an Expression of Interest (EOI), and then if short-listed, a full-application.
“We weren’t overly surprised to hear that almost 150 municipalities submitted a formal Expression of Interest for this program. The current recreation infrastructure gap is a challenge for all of us,” said Mayor Wayne Redekop. “It was a competitive process, so we’re very happy to hear that the Ministry of Transportation identified Fort Erie as one of the municipalities whose vision was closely aligned with Ontario’s Cycling Action Plan.”
Following the EOI submissions, only 51 municipalities were invited to submit full applications for review. The funding received through this program will be used to remedy the existing trail gap, which exists between Riverwalk and Bowen Road. The project is estimated to cost $500,000, with a $150,000 contribution coming from The Niagara Parks Commission (30%), $100,000 from the Town of Fort Erie (20%), and a $250,000 matching grant being provided by the OMCIP (50%). The program is designed to develop better cycling networks, promote safety, encourage innovation, support partnerships, collect data and enable cycling to be better recognized as a viable transportation mode.
“The Niagara Parks Commission is pleased to have partnered with the Town of Fort Erie on this successful application,” stated NPC Chair Janice Thomson. “What better way for us to celebrate the significance of this recreational trail, than to expand its reach and accessibility to all those who wish to use it. Since it was opened in 1986, the Niagara River Recreation Trail has become a key link with other trail systems, including the Greater Niagara Circle Route, the Trans Canada Trail network, the Waterfront Trail and the 475-km Greenbelt Route.”
At next week’s Council meeting, Town Council will finalize the last step in the process by approving a resolution and authorizing the Mayor and Clerk to execute the applicable bylaw and Agreement with The Niagara Parks Commission. Work on this project must be completed by March 31, 2018.