Cypher Systems Greenway

Horses being kept off the Cypher Systems Greenway for now



By Ron Giofu


While horses are allowed on the Chrysler Canada Greenway, the same can’t be said for the Cypher Systems Greenway.

The latter stretches from Essex to Amherstburg and the Essex Region Conservation Authority’s board of directors decided at their most recent board meeting that equestrian use would still be prohibited. Kevin Money, director of conservation services with ERCA, noted that there are no adequate parking facilities along the Cypher Systems Greenway to accommodate horse trailers so the idea was shelved for the time being.

“We don’t want to cause safety problems by them parking on the road and create hazards that way,” said Money.

The Chrysler Canada Greenway does have those type of parking facilities, so horses are allowed on that trail. Money acknowledged “we do have a lot of equestrian users in the county.”

ERCA is not allowing horses on the Cypher Systems Greenway at the present time.

ERCA conducted a survey over the summer to gauge feedback on allowing horses on the Cypher Systems Greenway. Over 850 people responded, he said, with 42 per cent identifying as cyclists, 30 per cent as walkers, eight per cent as runners and 16 per cent as equestrians. Results showed that 43 per cent of respondents indicated some concern with sharing the greenway with horses while 35 per cent had no concern. About 22 per cent did not respond.

In a written report to the ERCA board, Money stated there were concerns over manure and signage requiring riders to remove it, concerns from cyclists over damaging the trail surface and corresponding concerns from equestrians about cyclists staying off the trail when it is wet.

Money said that work is being done with the Essex Region Conservation Foundation, ERCA’s fundraising arm, to try and raise funds for additional amenities like parking lots.

“It’s very expensive to build parking lots of that size,” said Money.

Walking group thankful after assistance given to fallen member



By Ron Giofu


Members of a local walking group are thankful to a local cyclist after a medical incident on the Cypher Systems Greenway.

The group made the local greenway their walking route last Tuesday but the intense heat took its toll on one of the members. George Conway, one of the walking group members, said they had just departed from the Thomas Road entrance to the greenway when one of the female members of the group began to feel ill.

“She was looking hot and bothered,” said Conway.

Shortly thereafter, the woman went to a seated position before falling backwards.

“None of us had a phone,” said Conway, of the six-person walking group.

Conway stated that a man on a bicycle soon approached, provided immediate assistance and called for an ambulance. Paramedics couldn’t get through the gate, Conway said, but managed to get the stretcher through an opening and attended to the woman.

“The ambulance response was very quick,” said Conway. “They did an excellent job.”

The gate at the Cypher Systems Greenway at Thomas Road was locked last Tuesday but paramedics were still able to assist a fallen woman.

The woman came around and was transported to hospital in Windsor. Conway said he was advised by ERCA that police, fire and EMS all have keys to the gate but “perhaps a bit of priority needs to be given to those keys.”

Kevin Money, director of conservation services with ERCA, confirmed that emergency personnel have all been issued keys for the Cypher Systems Greenway gates.

“From our end, we’ve provided them with keys,” said Money. “We’ll be happy to give them more keys if they need more keys. Any and all EMS services have access to the greenways.”

Conway still remained thankful to the paramedics as well as the man on the bicycle who helped out that day. He said the man on the bicycle left before anyone could get his name, but the group wants him to know they are grateful for his efforts.

The walking group meets Tuesdays in the the Dollarama parking lot at 9:30 a.m. before deciding where they want to go for the day, he added. They enjoy the Cypher Systems Greenway as “each section is a little bit different” but they use trails in other surrounding municipalities as well. In the winter, they meet at the same day and time at the Libro Centre’s indoor walking track. He said new members are welcome, adding the group has dropped from 30 members when he first joined to six.


ERCA seeking feedback on horseback riding on local trails



Special to the RTT


The Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) is hoping to hear from a variety of greenway user groups on the matter of expanding horseback riding on the greenway trail system.

“Some equestrians have approached ERCA about expanding the sections of trail upon which horses are permitted,” explains Kevin Money, ERCA’s Director of Conservation Services. “We want to hear from all user groups in order to ensure we are making a balanced decision.”

Presently, horses are permitted on rural sections of the Chrysler Canada Greenway. The rules for horseback use are that riders of horses must use the grassed area to the side of the trail and clean up their horse droppings.

ERCA is seeking input on whether users of local trails would like to see them available for horseback riding. The entrance to the Cypher Systems Greenway, looking east from Thomas Road, is photographed.

The new Cypher Systems Group Greenway, which stretches 26 kilometres from Essex to Amherstburg, does not currently permit horse use.

“The Cypher Systems Group Greenway was just opened last year, and the trail needed an opportunity to settle prior to considering horse use. Currently, we are researching rules, design and maintenance standards of other trail owners such as municipalities and Conservation Authorities to help with the decision making process,” said Money.

The survey is available online at

For more than four decades, Essex Region Conservation has been sustaining and enriching the environment of the Windsor-Essex-Pelee Island region to ensure it is the Place for Life.



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.