Second annual CWATS celebration highlights connecting communities, staying active

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The County-Wide Active Transportation System (CWATS) was celebrated around Essex County last week with Amherstburg being the last stop on the tour.

The Amherstburg stop was, however, reportedly the largest.

The CWATS Celebration came to Toddy Jones Park and Fort Malden National Historic Site last Friday afternoon with six classes from Amherstburg Public School joining in. Cathy Copot-Nepszy, health promotion specialist with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU), said the “community celebration” wasn’t just about infrastructure but also about connecting communities and staying active.

More trails and bike paths are built every year, said Copot-Nepszy, and each community within Essex County celebrates staying active and staying in shape. The county is also collecting data to see if the new infrastructure is changing behaviour and getting more people out and about.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and members of town staff lead Amherstburg Public School students through Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada last Friday afternoon. It was the second annual County-Wide Active Transportation System celebration with Amherstburg being one of the seven Essex County municipalities where celebrations were held.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and members of town staff lead Amherstburg Public School students through Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada last Friday afternoon. It was the second annual County-Wide Active Transportation System celebration with Amherstburg being one of the seven Essex County municipalities where celebrations were held.

Jane Mustac, manager of transportation planning for the county, said partnerships with each community allow the CWATS network to grow. She touted the benefits of staying active, not just from a health perspective but from an economic perspective as well.

“Cycling is big for tourism,” she said.

Not only is the county trying to create a network across the region, they would like to see it go internationally as well. Mustac outlined efforts being made to put bicycle lanes on the new Gordie Howe International Bridge, when it is constructed.

Const. Steve Owen, the community services officer with Amherstburg police, told the students that it is important to be active but it is also important to be safe.

“You’re smaller and quieter than the cars,” said Owen. “Stay safe.”

Const. Sean Gazdig also joined Owen in riding with the CWATS Celebration participants.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale were also on hand with DiCarlo pointing out such CWATS accomplishments as a paved shoulder on County Road 20. He said the municipalities, the county, ERCA and the WECHU all team up to help people stay active and healthy.

“This event reinforces the town’s commitment to the CWATS charter and the CWATS master plan,” the mayor stated.

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