Kevin Money

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.



High lake levels at Holiday Beach eliminate large portion of beach



By Jolene Perron

“Holiday Beach as lost approximately 50 feet of sandy beach. There are still sandy areas, but it is much more limited now.”

Director of conservation services for Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) Kevin Money said what’s left of the beach is still accessible but there is a short drop off where waves have worn into the shoreline.
“We are not aware of higher lake levels having any effect on bacteria levels,” said Money. “The Health Unit tests regularly and we post our beach accordingly to make sure swimmers are aware of the health risks.”

Currently, they are looking into beach nourishment, which means to import and place more sand on the beach. Additionally, the are looking into shoreline protection, which would involve hardening the shoreline with rock or other designed structure to prevent further erosion, which Tim Byrne, director of watershed management explained is a very large concern based on past history.

“In 1986, those were all-time record high lake levels,” said Byrne. “In 1985/86, we lost several trees, we lost the sand beach and the shoreline eroded and moved landward. As lake levels started to recede, sand came back but the shoreline had receded several meters from its starting point early in 1985. The shoreline stayed relatively stable until 1998 when again, in 1998 we have a briefer high-level period and during that period of time, the beach was lost, some erosion had taken place, we didn’t lose any trees at that point in time.”

During this high lake level period, Byrne explained the lake started to elevate in 2015, increasing over 2016 and now into 2017. Currently, we have lost approximately a meter and a half of shoreline, which is nearing the amount lost in the 1985/86 high lake levels.

Holiday Beach has been impacted by higher lake levels.

Holiday Beach has been impacted by higher lake levels.

Historically, the beach does tend to return according to Byrne. However, the underlying clay and till gets lost and the shoreline overall will move closer. Previously, it took about 12 months after the lake levels were noticeably lowering for the beach level to return to a “normal” state.

“Once you’re at that period of time when lake levels were elevated well above average levels, your coastal process has changed dramatically,” explained Byrne. “There’s something that’s called lateral drift, and that is the capability of the shoreline and the near shore to carry sand and move sand around. Once your area immediately off shore exceeds a meter of depth, that all changes and that’s why the sand kind of disappears, because the waves behave differently. The calmer water periods where you have shallower water is all different, timing is different, and how the lake reacts during storm events is different and it causes sand to be removed, to be pulled out and it causes the underlying soil to erode. When the sand is not there to protect the clay and the till, then the lake actively erodes it.”

Byrne said ERCA doesn’t want to talk all “gloom and doom” because they want people to still come out and enjoy the properties that are available. The beach will return, and ERCA is already putting steps in place to prepare for the beach, which will reestablish itself over time. In the meantime, the remainder of the beach is still open for use, along with their hiking trails, fishing, the hawk tower, and much more.
Holiday Beach is open from dawn until dusk daily.


ERCA seeking public input on proposed Holiday Beach management plan



By Ron Giofu


The Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) is developing a new management plan for Holiday Beach Conservation Area and is turning to the public for help.

An open house was held last Tuesday evening at the Libro Centre where interested members of the public heard the conservation authority’s plans for the site and received an opportunity to provide feedback to ERCA staff. Kevin Money, director of conservation services with ERCA, was pleased with the turnout.

“We’re looking for feedback on the recommendations,” said Money.

The plan will set the direction for the future of the County Road 50 site, he added, and said ERCA wants to know what the public would like to see happen there.

Holiday Beach sign

“What’s missing? What types of things would you like to see at Holiday Beach?” said Money. “What are your ideas beyond this?”

Money added that the management plan was derived after several years of work and involved a variety of partners. Those include Parks Ontario, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Federation of Anglers and Hunters, the Field Naturalists, the Holiday Beach Migration Observatory among others.

While agencies and organizations have been worked with, Money added the every day citizen has also been a tremendous resource.

“I’ve had great talks with people who just want to take their dog for a walk or to go fishing,” he said.

A few highlights of the plan include a wildlife plan, ensuring the protection of the site’s ecological values while improving visitor experiences, finding new ways of reducing waste and energy consumption, constructing new trails and a feasibility study of creating a raptor centre. Money added capital plans also include new roads, cottages, campgrounds and the eventual replacement for the hawk tower.

Money said many people he has spoken to have wanted to ensure natural areas are protected at Holiday Beach. He said the plan is to have it before the board of directors in April.

A full copy of the plan can be found on the website at