Project Name: Soft Outdoor Destinations and Experiences – Guelph to Goderich Rail Trail
The 127-kilometre G2G Rail Trail continues to be a regional development priority. Running from the periphery of the Golden Horseshoe to the beaches of Lake Huron with a maximum three-per-cent trail grade, it is now open (as of summer 2017), with some detours remaining around missing infrastructure elements that are expected to be completed within five years.
Ultimately, this trail – for users of all abilities from all walks of life – connects communities and offers a myriad of new economic opportunities. It encourages recreation and active lifestyles through interaction with farmlands, river valleys, local culture, industry and historic towns.
A key partner of RTO4 on this project is the stewardship group and lease-holder of the G2G asset, the not-for-profit G2G Rail Trail Inc.
The G2G aspires to meet three goals:
- The completion of an entirely off-road 127-kilometre trail linking downtown Guelph to the beach in Goderich.
- A fully accessible trail permitting usage by people of all mobility levels.
- The fulfillment of the emerging economic opportunity of bringing services, hospitality and activities to, along and near the trail for the benefit of a growing number of daily users.
Major accomplishments over the past three years include clearing more than 60 kilometres of the trail and constructing five bridges.The Blyth Brook Bridge, installed in partnership with Huron County in Fall 2017, is the latest addition.
The successful Blyth Brook Bridge Ribbon Cutting on November 20, 2017 was followed by a reception at the Cowbell Brewing Company. The event celebrated and recognized the work of the communities throughout the region that had worked hard to build support and momentum to fully complete the project. The Blyth Brook Bridge Ribbon Cutting earned significant media coverage: four newspaper articles, considerable radio presence and a CTV News feature.
Going forward, RTO4 has an MOU with Huron County that identifies the G2G Rail Trail as one of its priorities through 2018/19. RTO4 will continue to work with the growing trail support network of stakeholders committed to the completion of a fully accessible trail. RTO4 will be cooperating with G2G Rail Trail Inc. to identify strategic priorities for upcoming projects as resources become available.
An MOU was established with the Region of Waterloo in early 2016 to conduct comprehensive engineering studies that assessed two significant bridge structures along the G2G Rail Trail. Phase 1 and 2 assessments were completed on the Grand and Conestogo River crossings with preliminary engineering recommendations considered by the region and RTO4 for 2018/19.
As this provincially significant asset continues to develop, a commensurate improvement of G2G’s consumer facing and partner communications is necessary. A digital audit was conducted in January 2018 to help inform a communications plan. This plan will assist with digital communications and overall web presence as well as appeal to the growing support of G2G.
OBJECTIVE #1 – Continued collaboration and planning on two engineering projects with the Region of Waterloo for Grand River and Conestogo River crossings, to be construction-ready in 2019.
OBJECTIVE #2 – Identification, assessment and construction of an engineering project with Huron County
OBJECTIVE #3– Strategic planning with G2G, with a focus on a fundraising and capital development role
- Building a business case and required partnership for a bridge at Wallenstein (Conestogo River crossing) and West Montrose
- Conducting research, identification, planning, and execution of an engineering project with Huron County
- Overseeing external consultant/fundraiser
- Providing assistance to the G2G board with high-level planning focused on the strategic business plan’s objectives, as well as volunteer engagement and alignment
For more details on this project, please visit the 2018/2019 RTO4 Business Plan, pages 35-37.