Connecting Our Community: Essex to Amherstburg Greenway Trail

  • Submitted by:

    Richard Wyma


    Conservation Foundation


    Essex Ontario

  • Idea Created:

    September 26, 2011


    Large ($100K - 150K)


**Taking the Scenic Route** **Imagine:** - A community where families enjoy each other’s company and the sounds of nature while taking an after dinner hike. - A community whose residents cycle outdoors in nature instead of in front of televisions. - A community that provides safe walking and cycling passages to travel from one municipality to the next, whether for recreation or transportation. This is the community that the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) and the Essex Region Conservation Foundation (ERCF) is striving to create; and the community that the Aviva Community Fund can help to support. Trails provide a sense of place; of belonging. They improve the overall character of a community and provide residents with the opportunity to enjoy the diverse environments and natural beauty of a region. **A Region Connected By Trails:** The Essex Region Conservation Foundation is seeking funding to develop the Essex-Amherstburg Greenway, a **22 kilometre multi-use recreational trail**, much like the Chrysler Canada Greenway. In fact, it is because of the success of the Greenway that this stretch of abandoned rail line was donated to ERCA. Since its opening in 2000, the 50 kilometre Greenway has become one of the most important trails in the region for hiking and cycling. It is also a destination for tourists, and was the route used by the recent VIA Bike Train initiative. The Essex – Amherstburg Greenway intersects with the Chrysler Canada Greenway, bringing our vision of a region connected by trails one step closer to reality. ERCA has already undertaken much of the infrastructure work – bridges and culverts have been installed and railroad ties have been removed. To date, 5.5 kilometres of the trail have been built within the municipality of Essex. The cost of trail development for the remaining 15.5 kilometres is approximately $750,000. We are concurrently fundraising and in the process of confirming additional funding for this trail project. Some of the partners include the Towns of Essex and Amherstburg, trails committees, Active Living Committees, the County of Essex, local elementary and secondary schools, service clubs like Lions and Rotary, the Share the Road Committee of Essex, the Windsor- Essex Health Unit and many other public and private organizations. With the success of this application and the associated fundraising campaign, this trail could be completed by the end of 2012. **Strong Trail Networks: Strong Communities** Trails support active lifestyles that improve health. Physical activity helps to prevent numerous diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. In fact, and increase in physical activity can save millions in health care spending. It also reduces stress and improves mental health. As well, trails help to create jobs. The Ontario Trails Council estimates that trails contribute at least $2 billion each year to the provincial economy. And a multi-use recreational trail that connects municipalities can be used as a safe transportation route, improving the bicycle-friendliness of our community. In fact, 98% of respondents to the County Wide Active Transportation Study indicated they would use trails if they connected towns. Linking municipalities by trails will lead to a healthy and more active Windsor-Essex community. **This project provides a community-wide benefit that is not specific to one city, town, or organization**. Your vote for the Essex – Amherstburg Greenway trail will benefit the entire population of the Windsor-Essex region: connecting us all through trails, providing economic benefits and leading to a healthier, more active community.