Provincial grant could help the County develop a cycling plan

(Gazette file photo)

The County has received $60,000 from a provincial program to develop a cycling plan.

Committee of the whole supported a transfer payment agreement last week that will allow the municipality to officially receive the funding.

The County submitted an application to the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program (OMCC) in July 2017 and was notified late last year the application was successful. The transfer payment agreement must be approved by council and enacted by bylaw for the funds to be transferred.

The $60,000 amounts to 80 per cent of a $75,000-project to develop a cycling plan which would identify local cycling infrastructure needs and would indicate routes. The municipal share of $15,000 would be funded from the reserve for planning purposes within the capital budget for 2018.

A staff report says since the municipality didn’t have an existing cycling plan, the application was restricted to funding only for the development of a plan.

Chief administrative officer James Hepburn said while this grant would cover only the development of the cycling plan, the OMCC could provide funding for cycling infrastructure work down the road.

“I understand there are additional funds available, but we cannot apply for any additional monies until such time as we have a plan in place,” he said.

The report indicates the OMCC program is part of the province’s cap and trade strategy and aims to encourage cycling rather than use vehicles to commute. New cycling infrastructure and expanding existing cycling infrastructure has been made a priority.

The OMCC is a four-year program. A council-approved declaration is required for all four years in order for the municipality to participate. The County is required to submit a list of projects identified by year. The list can be updated annually or semi-annually. Since Prince Edward County does not have a plan in place, a list of eligible infrastructure projects must be submitted following approval of the cycling plan.

If the agreement is approved by council at their Feb. 13 meeting, the plan will be developed with the services of a consultant and will outline future cycling infrastructure needs. Those projects could then be considered for OMCC dollars in future years.