Collingwood Will Benefit From Provincial Funding Announcement
Ontario is making it easier for commuters and families to get around by bike, with new funding to build a better and safer commuter cycling network across the province.
Earlier this year, Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca and Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Eleanor McMahon held a press gathering in Toronto on May 29th on Bike to Work Day to launch the new Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program (OMCC).
On Monday December 4, 2017, DelDuca announced the province will invest 93 million dollars over the next year, almost twice as much as initially announced, to assist 120 towns and cities expand and construct new bike lanes and bike infrastructure across the province.
This investment will help promote safety for cyclists and make cycling more comfortable and appealing for daily commutes and other frequent trips. Investing in cycling infrastructure also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions across Ontario.
The investment is a part of a four year municipal commuter plan to help promote safety for cyclists and make cycling more comfortable and appealing for daily commutes and other frequent trips. Investing in cycling infrastructure also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions across Ontario.
Communities throughout Ontario will have different needs based on population, traffic and lifestyle patterns. Toronto will receive 25.6 million dollars to be used to expand the city’s Bike Share system. The city will add up to 300 new locations and 3,000 bikes.
Collingwood will receive 133,000 dollars in funding.
No announcement has been made by Town of Collingwood officials as to how this money will be put to use, but Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson says the funds will assist the Town in improving its cycling infrastructure while continuing to promote a healthy, sustainable lifestyle for residents and visitors.
“This announcement is great news for Collingwood. Our Community Based Strategic Plan identifies Healthy Living as one of five community goals and this Council has been actively working to pursue that goal. In April of this year, the Town was awarded the Bronze Bicycle Friendly status by the Share the Road Cycling Coalition and we are actively working towards obtaining the silver designation. In July of this year, Council approved the Active Transportation Framework which looks at improving the accessibility and infrastructure for all non-motorized modes of transportation including cycling.”
Our town is known throughout the province as having one of the most extensive trail systems for walking and biking of any community of its size. The Collingwood Trails System is always expanding and presently encompasses over 60 kilometres of recreational trails connecting shopping districts, schools, tourist attractions and services. Recent Provincial and County of Simcoe grants allowed for the completion of the Heritage Trail that now connects to Millennium Park at the water’s edge behind the Collingwood Terminals.
Not only is Collingwood’s expansive trail system used for local residents to get around town but it has become a major tourist attraction for visitors to our area who want to enjoy spending time outdoors while getting some exercise and taking in the escarpment and waterfront views available.
Neighbouring communities will benefit from the funding announcement as well. Wasaga Beach will receive 100,234 dollars in funding, Owen Sound will receive 113,754 dollars in funding and Barrie will receive 1,013,539 dollars in funding.
Funding for the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program comes from proceeds of the province of Ontaro’s cap-and-trade program.
It is estimated about 1.5 million people in the province use their bikes at least once a week during spring, summer and fall.
–photographs – Paul Richards