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G2G Trail projects look to boost trail accessibility

G2G Trail executive director Doug Cerson at the Katherine Street section near West Montrose, where accessibility has become the priority in renovations this year. [Damon MacLean]

The abundance of snow this month is a boon for skiers and snowmobilers, but for the volunteers with the Goderich to Guelph Trail (G2G), it’s a time to plan for the work to be done when the white stuff finally melts away.

Accessibility projects will head the list when work resumes, says Doug Cerson, the organization’s executive director.

“As we go into 2021, we want to keep working on our mandate to improve the accessibility from all of the locations where we currently have access off of main roads, parking lots, and inside of each of our 13 communities.”  

In Woolwich, that means improvements to the Katherine Street part of the trail that is shared with the Kissing Bridge Trail. It’s an issue where users have complained for years about accessibility issues, said Cerson.

“One of the areas that causes a bit of a problem and has been addressed a few times over the years to be improved – and it has been greatly improved – is at Katherine Street, where we currently have a staircase. And that staircase, as much as it was a huge improvement from a dirt path point going up a very steep hill, for older generations and for younger generations is still a bit of a push to get a bike to roll up that track up the middle of the staircase.” 

Cerson notes the organization has about four acres of land in the area, allowing for an extension of the “sub-trail” to provide an alternative to the stairway.

“You’ll now have an option between the staircase or bringing the level grade access to get up to Katherine. Or if somebody that’s walking their dog or just going out for a walk, they can just use as a loop – they can go down the staircase and walk down and come down on a loop. So, it’s got a lot of different functions. The primary thing is accessibility, to make it easier for all people to be able to get from the level ground at the top of this staircase and down to the trail.” 

Other ongoing projects in the area include plans for bridges being installed across the Grand River near West Montrose and the Conestogo River near Wallenstein, as well as plans for a bridge replacement in Milverton. 

The group is soliciting donations to aid with those projects, and looking for support from the local, provincial and federal governments.

Support from Woolwich has always been strong, Cerson notes.

“The residents of Woolwich really were the pioneers behind this whole entire trail. The Lions Club stepped up years ago,” he said. “So it’s a big thank-you from our family at the G2G to the local residents for really embracing something that has become now a backbone of trails in southwestern Ontario.”

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