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Friday, July 12, 2024
Heritage trail continuing second phase, but needs donations for next steps
From left: Coun. Gary Burroughs, Lord Mayor Gary Zalepa and heritage trail committee chair Rick Meloen speaking at the committee's latest meeting. DAVE VAN DE LAAR

Before the Upper Canada Heritage Trail’s committee can start work on its next phase, which will extend it by another four kilometres, organizers are counting on the community to help raise more money to support the project.

Committee members spoke Tuesday morning during an informal unveiling of the newest section of the trail, spanning from Line 1 to Line 2.

“We cannot continue onto Phase 3 until we start generating more money,” committee chair Rick Meloen told The Lake Report. 

Meloen said the committee is primarily focused on fundraising because it has received only a small amount from the town. 

“They gave us $5,000 right at the start for seed money,” he said.

Finishing the second phase, which will add two kilometres to the trail, will cost around $100,000, Meloen said. The initial phase cost $118,000 in total. 

The third phase price tag is projected to be $200,000.

“We’ve kind of run out of money at Line 3,” Meloen said. 

Following the completion of the latest section, which is expected to be done later this year, the next two phases will follow. 

The third phase will extend the trail for another four kilometres.

Following that, the fourth phase will be the most expensive.

“That will be the most difficult part because we’re going up the escarpment,” Meloen said. 

It will involve a lot of work for drainage and restoration, especially in the last kilometre. 

“We want to make this trail accessible for everyone,” Meloen said. 

Coun. Wendy Cheropita said the town can help the heritage trail by finding more sponsors to keep the money flowing.

“It’s really important to us. If a couple of big donors step up and help us out,” she said.

“It could be some of the businesses that are along (the trail),” Cheropita said, adding that potential sponsors are being sought now.

“We will soon have up to Line 3, as already mentioned. But from Line 3 all the way up to York Road, then we can connect to the Bruce Trail,” Cheropita said. 

With more expansion, the trail could host more formally organized activities for community members, she said.

The trail, as it is now, remains a grey gravel surface that Meloen said is easy to repair and suffers minimal damage. 

The committee’s biggest concern for pedestrians on the trail now is them entering private land adjacent to the trail.

Signs along the walkway warn that motorized vehicles aren’t allowed but Meloen said more permanent signage is in the works. 

To support the heritage trail, visit heritagetrail.ca.

Fundraisers are in the works, including the second annual “Paws on the Trail” set for Sept. 7 at Veterans Memorial Park. Sign-up is available on the website.

juliasacco@niagaranow.com 

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