Request for G2G Rail Trail funding put before Huron County council

Article Sidebar

Article content

As the 132-kilometre Goderich to Guelph Rail Trail (G2G) continues to be developed, officials with the project are looking for funding to remove particular trail obstacles in Huron County.

Among their concerns is the construction of a Highway 25 tunnel to connect Blyth to Auburn, which they said would provide trail users with safety.

Their plea was put before Huron County council on Aug. 12. Making the presentation was Doug Cerson, David Peacock and Doug Ellacott. Cerson is the executive director of the project while Ellacott is a volunteer. Peacock is a part-time executive advisor and chief strategist at RTO4 Inc.

They were seeking financial support from Huron council to help with the infrastructure, maintenance and operation of the trail’s route along Lake Huron.

The cost for the Highway 25 tunnel clearance is estimated at roughly $300,000.

“We believe the tunnel not only brings safety but it is the largest asset on the rail to show the full scope of this trail, build bridges and connect and open up these communities, it is the best project to be focused on,” said Peacock.


Story continues below
This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content continued

Roughly 40 volunteers have been working to solicit funds and gain some traction to clear the Auburn to Blyth portion of the trail, county council was told.

“It’s been eight years of soliciting for funds, hard work and maintaining the trailways for use, and for every project you see there are another four or five in each section that are being worked on along the trailway,” said Cerson.

He recalled the fragmented signage and community issues that each small community faced when maintaining the trail portion that ran through their municipalities, saying the Huron portion has become the most talking about trail in Ontario within the cycling community.

Warden Jim Ginn reassured the delegation that he understood their concerns, saying county council is aware of the trail’s world-class status and is proud to be a part of it.

However, Bluewater Mayor Paul Klopp spoke out against the funding. He said he knew when the project started 10 years ago that the county would eventually be asked for financial support.

Klopp said the project was never meant to be funded by the County of Huron and that municipalities are already financially stretched.

While council did not make a decision in regards to funding, a report will be brought forward to a future council meeting with further details.

Using a co-funded grant from the provincial agricultural ministry, the G2G Rail Trail is two weeks away from completing a summer-long resurfacing and waypoint improvement project.

Led by trail activist Andy Heal, a crew of Wilfrid Laurier University students has been selected to make up the Project RED Crew.

“We want to bring people via the trail into the communities from across Canada and internationally to get people to spend their tourism dollars in Huron, Perth and the other counties which the trail runs through,” said Cerson.” It’s what you experience in the agricultural areas and in the rural communities, or at the breweries and wineries along the way until you dip your toes into Lake Huron at Rotary Cove.”