Elgin County plans to inquire about a stipend to enhance bicycle routes. For this stipend to be granted, evidence for why this stipend should be approved must be shown to the government in Ontario. At Tuesday’s council meeting, the Deputy Director of Engineering Services, Peter Dutchak, presented reasoning for applying to the Ontario Municipal Cycling Infrastructure Program. In order to upgrade bicycling infrastructure, the county adopted the Elgin St.Thomas bicycling plan at the beginning of the year.
The budget for this year contemplated twenty four kilometers of gravel shoulders on Sunset, Imperial, and East roads to create bicycling paths. Sunset Road is being signed as a formal bicycling route this year. According to Dutchak, if the government in Ontario approves the application, the new program will offer funds to create a bicycling route along Dexter Line. This route is considered a valuable route because it is part of a waterfront trail across Elgin County.
The Ontario Municipal Cycling Infrastructure Program, OMCIP, funds municipalities with up to $325,000 for these types of projects. The province said municipalities have until August to request funding for the year. “The OMCIP creates an opportunity to leverage funds to develop a link between projects already planned,” Dutchak says. To fund this project, Dutchak states Elgin County needs all of the $325,000 in addition to a portion of funds drawn from capital surplus. Councilors were in favor of this project, and Malahide Mayor Dave Mennill said he has noticed a rise in the amount of bicyclists riding to Lake Erie.