ERCF

Bike Tour raises approximately $20,000 for Essex Region Conservation Foundation

 

Cyclists from near and far celebrated the Essex region’s trails recently for the sixth annual Essex Region Bike Tour.

A sixth route was added this year to include the brand new Cypher Systems Group Greenway, the trail that connects Amherstburg and Essex. It was a fundraiser for the Essex Region Conservation Foundation, the fundraising arm of the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA).

Approximately 275 people participated in the event, said ERCA events planner Alex Denonville, with the event raising about $20,000.

“We’re really happy with it this year,” he said.

Councillor Rick Fryer, who is also the chair of the Essex Region Conservation Authority’s board of directors, was one of the participants in the recent Essex Region Conservation Foundation Bike Tour. He took a break in Malden Centre before heading out for the rest of the ride.

The bike tour included a 15 km beginner ride, a 32 km intermediate ride and a 64 km route along the Chrysler Canada Greenway trail. The 15 km event began and ended at Schwab Farm Community Entrance on the Arner Towline. The 32 km intermediate ride began and ended at the Harrow Community Entrance, and the 64 km route was based from the Caesars Windsor Community Entrance on Country Route 8, just west of Walker Road. An 80 km “Extreme Greenway” ride began at the Sadler’s Pond Park Entrance in Essex.

The road routes are largely part of the County Wide Active Transportation System (CWATS), and include a 104 km advanced ride began and ended at the Vollmer Culture and Recreation Centre in LaSalle. The 58 km road route began and ended at the Essex County Demonstration Farm, located next to Holiday Beach Conservation Area on County Road 50.

The tour welcomed riders from all over southwestern Ontario, Michigan, and the Greater Toronto Area.

All funds raised will support regional trails development and maintenance in the Place for Life.

“Our trails and conservation areas are one of our region’s greatest gems and most important assets,” said Charlotte Loaring, a foundation board member.

Bob Hedrick of LaSalle rides his recumbent bike near the Essex County Demonstration Farm on County Road 50 during the Essex Region Conservation Foundation’s Bike Tour. Amherstburg was on some of the routes that cyclists took.

The bike tour once again welcomed the Windsor Tandem Cycling Club with a two-for-one discount. The Club gives blind, partially-sighted, deaf-blind and fully-sighted cyclists an opportunity to share an enthusiasm for cycling. The tour offered discounted rates to the club to promote accessibility and ensure all can enjoy and celebrate the region’s trail system.

The event also implemented a brand new “Bike Tour Ambassador” program, which invited community leaders and local athletes to promote the tour and lead the ride from their starting location. This year’s ambassadors included ERCA Board Chair and Amherstburg Councillor Rick Fryer, ERCA board member and Councillor Fred Francis, Councillor Rino Bortolin, Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Lakeshore Councillor Dave Monk, ERCA’s 2016 Athlete of the Year Carrie Lee and City of Windsor 2016 Commuter of the Year Paul Dubois,.

 

 

ERCF hopeful of reaching $30,000 through annual golf tournament

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Essex Region Conservation Foundation (ERCF) was the focus of a fundraising golf tournament last Thursday at Pointe West Golf Club.

The foundation, the fundraising arm of the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA), hosted its 29th annual tournament and Danielle Stuebing, ERCA’s director of communications and outreach services said it was the second year of it being at Pointe West.

“It was a great day. We had almost 100 people join us,” said Stuebing. “We’re hoping to get $30,000 for conservation initiatives.”

Stuebing pointed out that the funds will go into the “Place for Life” campaign with that campaign consisting of four pillars – trails, greening the region, conservation education and heritage preservation at the John R. Park Homestead.

A number of municipalities were represented as teams with politicians and administrative members among those hitting the links.

The Essex Region Conservation Foundation (ERCF), the fundraising arm of the Essex Region Conservation Authority, held its 29th annual golf tournament last Thursday at Pointe West Golf Club. The winning team included (from left) Todd Laliberte, Jen Cassidy, Pat Cloutier and David Cassidy.

The Essex Region Conservation Foundation (ERCF), the fundraising arm of the Essex Region Conservation Authority, held its 29th annual golf tournament last Thursday at Pointe West Golf Club. The winning team included (from left) Todd Laliberte, Jen Cassidy, Pat Cloutier and David Cassidy.

“We’re very fortunate to have the support of a lot of municipalities because the work we do benefits the entire region,” said Stuebing. “It’s great to have such wonderful support.”

Susan Stockwell Andrews, president of the ERCF board of directors, told the golfers that “your partnership and support really does help” fund projects and initiatives.

“This is one of the most successful fundraisers we have each year,” said Stockwell Andrews.

The Place for Life campaign has a goal of raising $1 million over three years and Stockwell Andrews noted they are trying to preserve history as well as the environment.

“We are truly blessed to live in such a stunning area,” she told the crowd at the post-tournament dinner. “We are working to protect natural areas that you see. It’s all due to your support.”

For further information, visit www.placeforlife.ca.

Cypher Systems Greenway officially open

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Although people have been trying it out for a few months now, the Cypher Systems Greenway is now officially open.

The 22-kilometre trail that links Amherstburg with Essex celebrated its grand opening last Thursday morning in McGregor. The trail, an abandoned rail line that was donated to the Essex Region Conservation Foundation (ERCF) in 2003, intersects in McGregor with the existing Chrysler Canada Greenway.

Claire Wales, ERCF vice president, credited the partnerships with donors, volunteers and contributors for making the trail a reality.

The town of Amherstburg officially made its $100,000 contribution to the Cyper Systems Greenway last Thursday morning in McGregor. The donation went to the Essex Region Conservation Foundation (ERCF) and came from the town’s 2016 surplus. From left: ERCF vice president Claire Wales, Councillor Leo Meloche, CAO John Miceli, Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale, Councillor and Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) chair Rick Fryer.

The town of Amherstburg officially made its $100,000 contribution to the Cyper Systems Greenway last Thursday morning in McGregor. The donation went to the Essex Region Conservation Foundation (ERCF) and came from the town’s 2016 surplus. From left: ERCF vice president Claire Wales, Councillor Leo Meloche, CAO John Miceli, Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale, Councillor and Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) chair Rick Fryer.

“We are so grateful to the Government of Canada, Cypher Systems Group, and the hundreds of corporate and individual donors who raised $1 million through our TrailON! campaign to develop this trail,” said Wales.

According to the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA), whom the ERCF raises funds on behalf of, Caesars Windsor made an initial contribution of $25,000 to kick off the campaign.  ERCA stated that contributions of $250,000 from Cypher Systems Group, $100,000 from the Town of Essex and many other corporate and individual donations enabled the Essex Region Conservation Foundation to be approved for up to $500,000 in funding through the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program (CIP 150) for the trail renovation.

The Town of Amherstburg added $100,000 more by officially presenting a cheque at the grand opening. That money was part of a surplus from the town’s 2016 operations.

Brian Schwab, president of Cypher Systems Group, said the company made the investment not just as a way to give back.

The new sign for the Cypher Systems Group Greenway was also unveiled April 27.

The new sign for the Cypher Systems Group Greenway was also unveiled April 27.

“It’s an attempt to make our community better,” said Schwab. “We can go for walks, jogs, runs and really start to explore this area and appreciate all it has to offer.  We can accomplish much and build upon the value of this area by helping to provide these types of recreational places.  It really is an investment, for everyone to use and enjoy today and for future generations to come.”

Elected officials from both Amherstburg and Essex attended the grand opening with Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale bringing greetings from Amherstburg. DiPasquale hoped people have positive experiences and stated it’s been a long time in the making.

ERCA chair Rick Fryer, also an Amherstburg councillor, said credit for trails dates back to the late Herb Gray, whose vision saw CN and CP donated old rail lines. He said trails are helping to make the Essex region a place to come to.

“We’ve become the region to come and live in,” said Fryer, adding he also met several people on the trail while on a recent bicycle ride with one of his daughters.

Fryer added that “green spaces, trails and a healthy environment directly contribute to our region being recognized as the place for life, where people choose to live, work, visit, and invest.”

The official ribbon cutting for the Cypher Systems Greenway occurred last Thursday morning in McGregor. From left: ERCA chair and Amherstburg councillor Rick Fryer, ERCF vice president Claire Wales, Cypher Systems Group president Brian Schwab, Essex Mayor Ron McDermott, Stephen Savage of Cypher Systems Group, Amherstburg Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale and ERCA general manager Richard Wyma.

The official ribbon cutting for the Cypher Systems Greenway occurred last Thursday morning in McGregor. From left: ERCA chair and Amherstburg councillor Rick Fryer, ERCF vice president Claire Wales, Cypher Systems Group president Brian Schwab, Essex Mayor Ron McDermott, Stephen Savage of Cypher Systems Group, Amherstburg Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale and ERCA general manager Richard Wyma.

Fryer noted that “we can hop on our bikes and visit our good friends in the town of Essex,” with Essex Mayor Ron McDermott making similar remarks.

“It’s nice to know we are hooked up to Amherstburg and the rest of the region,” said McDermott.

In a press release, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario Navdeep Bains stated: “Recreational activities and facilities form an essential part of every community. The Government of Canada recognizes that investments in projects like the Cypher Systems Group Greenway allow us to celebrate our heritage, improve the health of Canadians, and allow families to enjoy moments of sport, leisure and contemplation for years to come.”

 

Town to donate $100,000 of $738,000 surplus to Cypher Systems Greenway

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The town finished 2016 with a surplus of $738,000 and $100,000 of that will be donated to the Cypher Systems Greenway.

Town council heard from Susan Stockwell Andrews, president of the Essex Region Conservation Foundation (ERCF), who told the elected officials that the ERCF is the one who raises the money for the greenways, such as the Cypher Systems Greenway and the Chrysler Canada Greenway. While the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) operates them, no money comes from the ERCA levy to develop them, said Stockwell Andrews, and that the foundation pays acquisition and development costs.

Stockwell Andrews said they ran into unexpected costs in Amherstburg with that including drainage. Councillor Leo Meloche voiced concerns with people parking on the shoulders of roads near entrances to the Cypher Systems Greenway with ERCA general manager Richard Wyma indicating that the plan is to develop community entrances – which include parking areas – much like there are along the Chrysler Canada Greenway.

Cypher Systems GreenwayWEB

Councillor Rick Fryer, who is also chair of the ERCA board of directors, made the motion to give the donation and said this region is “a place for life” and healthy living. The surplus, he noted, was administration showing its due diligence.

Many are already enjoying the Cypher Systems Greenway, Fryer added, noting the official grand opening doesn’t take place until Thursday morning.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said the $783,000 surplus is “big news” and that “we spread it around.” In addition to the donation to the greenway, $15,000 went into an economic development reserve while $20,000 went into a Gordon House working capital reserve. The Libro Centre reserve will receive $100,000 while $292,291 goes into a police reserve. Debt reduction to the Texas Road project covers the rest, amounting to $255,711.

DiCarlo pointed out the importance of reserves and that the surplus “translates very well for Amherstburg’s financial situation.” The town’s financial standing has improved and he is confident of the town’s direction, but noted there is still outstanding debt that is currently locked in.

Council considering greenway donation, want to hear from ERCF first

 

By Ron Giofu

The town of Amherstburg considered donating $100,000 to the Essex Region Conservation Foundation (ERCF) for the Cypher Systems Greenway but will wait for a report instead.

Town council opted to wait for more information, also wanting to hear from foundation representatives, before formally committing any dollars to the greenway, the trail linking Amherstburg and Essex. Essex has already donated to the project and Councillor Rick Fryer suggested Amherstburg also contribute.

Fryer originally made a motion, which he later withdrew in order for the town to get further information, for Amherstburg to donate $100,000 to the greenway project. He said the project is worth $1.1 million with $700,000 of the work taking place within Amherstburg.

Despite the Cypher Systems Greenway not being officially open, Fryer said it is already being used. It will be a great addition to the town and its families, he believed.

Cypher Systems GreenwayWEB

Amherstburg council debated whether or not to give $100,000 to the Cypher Systems Greenway. The sign that is pictured is near an entrance in Essex.

“It’s just fantastic,” he said.

Fryer, represents the town on the ERCA board of directors along with former deputy mayor Ron Sutherland, suggested the money come from the 2016 operating surplus, but director of finance/treasurer Justin Rousseau cautioned that the year-end financial work has not been completed as of yet. The town could have a $300,000 operating surplus, Rousseau noted, and while it is trending in that direction, that is not a final number.

Councillor Jason Lavigne said he would want to see complete numbers from the foundation, which is the fundraising arm of the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) before he supports a $100,000 funding request, though Lavigne noted he is in favour of the greenway itself.

Both Lavigne and Mayor Aldo DiCarlo noted the funding put in by the Cypher Systems Group, believing that was to cover the costs of the greenway construction. Fryer said there were “cost overruns” and that the money would offset deficits in the project. Lavigne said he would like to see what the shortfall is and know that the money would be going towards that.