Hikers using the Kissing Bridge Trailway may be feeling the heat of the sun these days, but have no reason to be hot under the collar at the prospect of losing the local resource, as the province has formally removed the trail land from its review of potential property sell-offs.
Kissing Bridge Trailway (KBT) and stretches of the 148-kilometre Guelph to Goderich (G2G) Rail Trail were feared to be at risk as the Ford government carried out an assessment of potentially surplus property.
That prospect prompted the Region of Waterloo and Woolwich Township to press the province not only to drop the idea, but to pledge support for the trail system. In particular, the region wants to see longer-term lease arrangements for the provincial land, much of it former railway corridors, moving away from the system of five-year leases. The current lease agreement between the province, the region and the County of Wellington is up for renewal in June 2020.
Earlier this month, the province said it would drop the trail lands from consideration, though the leasing issue remains.
“I’m happy to report that the line will remain under provincial ownership and will not be put up for sale,” Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris said in an email.
The decision was welcomed by Doug Cerson, executive director of G2G Rail Trail Inc.
“I have been in direct communication with the Minister of Government and Consumer Services, Lisa Thompson, and she has reassured us that the Goderich to Guelph lands have been removed from the assessment process. In addition to relieving G2G Rail Trail and all other leases from the burden of uncertainty, Minister Thompson has committed to finding a long-term solution which will replace the current multi-lease situation,” he said in an email.
The KBT is part of the G2G Trail system, with stretches running through Elmira and West Montrose.