Essex Approves Next Phase of Cycling Trail Project

Essex town council has given its stamp of pre-approval to a wider County Road 50.

The expansion is part of County Wide Active Transportation System.

A section of County Rd. 50 will be widened for bike-lanes at a cost of $1.4-million; $868,000 will fall into the town's budget with the majority of that money coming from the province and reserves.

Megan Balsillie owns Farm Dog Cycles. She addressed council on behalf several business owners looking forward to the boost in bike tourism that connecting the cycling trails will bring.

"Getting it done quicker means tourism will reap the rewards now for those three extra years that we're ready to go, we're not waiting to go one kilometre at a time," she says.

Balsillie says connecting existing bike lanes will be a boost for hospitality and retail over the summer months.

"Kingsville's important because it has so much going on in the town centre, so much more access to accommodations and dining. When you think about what you want to do during the day, you kind of want to be out on the road by the wineries and by the lake," she says.

According to administration, the project is being pre-approved so it can be brought to the county before funding deadlines expire.

Money spent on the project will not factor into any increase in taxes at the municipal level.

Balsillie says the connection will bring a bike network one step closer to completion.

"We're kind of in the unique situation where we started with no bike lanes and now we have some and we're very much looking forward to being able to give people access to a network," she says.