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New provincial government shelves program that funded bike lanes across the province

Funding announced in March by the previous Liberal government is currently in the city's account, says deputy CAO Stewart
20180528 Bike to Work Day KA 01
File photo

A provincial program which had been providing funding to cycling infrastructure projects in Guelph and across Ontario has been shelved, but city management says a previously promised project will move ahead.

In March, the province announced the city of Guelph will receive $1.19 million in funding from the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling program, which was funded at the time by the previous Liberal government’s cap on pollution and carbon market, more commonly referred to as cap-and-trade. 

The newly-elected OntarioPC provincial government, under the leadership of Doug Ford, has announced the suspension of Ontario’s cap-and-trade system and the winding down of the green programs it once funded.

Among those programs that lost funding is the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling. Stakeholders were notified earlier this week that the program is now cancelled and no further funding will be issued.

The previously-announced provincial funding for Guelph was earmarked toward the completion of the Woodlawn Multi-Use Path’s second phase, specifically along Woodlawn Road between Silvercreek Parkway and Imperial Road. That section of Woodlawn doesn’t currently have a sidewalk, let alone a bike lane.

The Woodlawn Multi-Use Path is the only project directly funded by the provincial dollars announced in March, but Mayor Cam Guthrie said at the time that the funding freed up dollars that had previously been allocated in the capital budget for other projects.

One of those projects will be the paving of the loose gravel shoulder of Victoria Road South between Stone Road East and the bridge over the Eramosa River.

GuelphToday recently reached out to Scott Stewart, Guelph’s deputy CAO in charge of Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise, to ask if those projects are in jeopardy in light of the suspension of Ontario’s cap-and-trade system.

Stewart said the city of Guelph has already received the $1.19-million in funding, and that it is currently in the city’s account.

"The money that was previously earmarked to come to us has arrived, we have got it and it will be spent accordingly," said Stewart.