East Ferris aims to increase and promote active transportation—jogging, cycling, walking—and are seeking public input as to how this vision can materialize.
When council began their term, active transportation was one of the priorities outlined in their strategic plan.
“It was scheduled as a 2022 action item,” explained Greg Kirton, the municipality’s manager of planning and economic development, “so we’re ahead of schedule on it.”
An active transportation committee has been established, which is chaired by East Ferris’ mayor, Pauline Rochefort, “and she’s been the main driving force moving the project along,” Kirton explained.
“It’s a little different doing an active transportation plan for a rural municipality,” Kirton admits, as issues surrounding active transport in East Ferris are much different than downtown Toronto.
“But we do know there are a lot of people who cycle and walk for fitness,” in the area, and “we basically just wanted to start somewhere and identify major cycling routes, major walking routes” and see how these can be improved.
Work has already been done, as the committee has drafted a 56-page action plan, outlining their vision to ensure walking and cycling in East Ferris remains “enjoyable, safe and convenient” for residents.
However, the draft has room for more, and the municipality is urging interested citizens to offer their insights on the topic at an upcoming public meeting.
“We can use that as a basis for plans to widen shoulders when we do road construction, or we can use it as a basis for applying for funding for those purposes.”
It is difficult to apply for funding without “a framework or plan you can point to,” Kirton said. “So if we identify some key routes,” and concerns from residents, “we might be able to leverage that for funding opportunities.”
“We’re looking for input from residents about what’s going on in their specific areas,” he added.
Public input will help “to modify” the existing plan, and residents are welcome to contribute their input at a public meeting scheduled for November 2, at the Upstairs Hall in the East Ferris Arena.
Residents are welcome to drop in to contribute anytime between 4:00 and
Those unable to attend can send their comments to Kirton via e-mail at [email protected] or give him a call at 705-752-2740 ext. 223.
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.