Huron East Council wants report on proposed G2G trailhead
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Huron East Council has requested a report and further costing information on a proposal to create a kiosk and rest area at the McNaught trailhead along the Goderich-to-Guelph (G2G) Rail Trail.
Chris Lee from the G2G Rail Trail Advisory Committee spoke to council at its Feb. 1 meeting, which was held virtually via Zoom, regarding the project, asking the municipality for monetary and in-kind grants to aid the project, which has a total budget that exceeds $20,000.
Speaking to council, Lee said the historic McNaught station would be an ideal location for a trailhead, sitting nearly equidistant between the Walton and Monkton trailheads. He told councillors that the trailhead typically sees between 50 and 100 people pass through it per day with even more traffic on weekends.
The area, located on the east side of McNaught Line between Blyth and Walton Roads, would include an entry lane and clearly-defined parking area, gravel for the parking areas, a composting toilet facility, roadside signage and a kiosk storyboard featuring information on both the trail and the municipality and its nearby amenities.
Other work associated with the project would include the addition of a vehicle laneway, grading, the transfer of material, relocation of one of the trail’s gates and the addition of bollards or a berm, all requested to be provided in-kind by Huron East.
Lee’s proposal states that the municipality would contribute $6,500 in cash to the project for the toilet and kiosk board, while in-kind donations would include truck, loader/backhoe and gravel contributions, as well as public works department staff hours to install gates and the kiosk, estimated at a total of $7,500 for a total contribution of an estimated $14,000 worth of cash and in-kind services.
For the remaining costs, Lee said the G2G would contribute $2,000 in cash and $1,000 in-kind, while Community Futures Huron would also contribute $3,000 to the project.
After Lee’s presentation, Chief Administrative Officer Brad McRoberts was quick to point out that, for the municipality, gravel should not be considered an in-kind contribution, as the municipality would have to pay for it.
Huron East Mayor Bernie MacLellan told council that, regardless of the breakdown of costs, the project would cost the municipality about $20,000 in his opinion when the cost of gravel is included. He also referred back to the early days of planning for the trail, when organizers said there would be no further costs to municipal partners once the trail had been constructed.
Several councillors felt McRoberts should produce a report that would accurately reflect the monetary contribution for Huron East for the project.
Councillor Dianne Diehl noted that the municipality’s entire annual grants budget is $20,000 and committing to this project would be the equivalent of cleaning it out in one fell swoop, so she wanted a report to truly understand the complete cost to the municipality before she made a decision.
Councillors Alvin McLellan and Brenda Dalton agreed and asked for a staff report on the issue to be brought to council at its March 1 meeting. Council carried the motion.