The cycling enthusiasts who envisioned and funded the downhill mountain bike trails at the Libro Centre are seeking Council approval so they can start fundraising to construct an additional 3-to-4 km cross-country cycling trail.
I’m very supportive of this proposal. It will greatly enhance an attraction that is already popular and it will make the Libro Centre even more of a destination for cyclists in Amherstburg and beyond. It will also be a great addition to the Big Creek Trail, which is getting lots of use by cyclists, runners and dog-walkers.
The new trail would be located on the east side of the hill behind the football field, an unused space where fill was placed during the construction of the Libro in 2012. The area is not designated for future amenities and, in a worst case scenario, the low-cost trails could simply be reworked around future amenities, according to an administrative report.
The new trail would complement the existing cross-country trail and the three downhill trails that volunteers with the Windsor Essex Bike Community constructed last year. In just six weeks last year, the group raised more than $33,000, including support from 15 local businesses and 50 residents, to construct a trail. They entered into a land stewardship agreement with the Town and engaged more than 50 volunteers who put in more than 1,500 volunteer hours to build the trail network.
I’ve no doubt they will be similarly successful in raising funds and marshalling volunteers for the trail expansion should Council provide them the conditional approval they are seeking when they come to Council on Monday, Dec. 11.
Our email inbox was flooded on the weekend with messages urging Council to back this project. Many emails were from Amherstburg parents who use the trails with their kids or who love how much their kids have embraced the benefits of cycling. Others were from cyclists who come to Town to use the trails and spend money here before they return home.
“For the Libro Centre, the addition of more trail would further cement it as a world class athletics and recreation centre and unlike any other in Southwestern Ontario. Moreover, the added trails from Phase 2 of this project would transform the Libro Trails into an improved interconnecting trail network that would attract more cyclists from all over the region,” said WEBC in their Council presentation. “This would lead to substantial positive economic impacts and boosted tourism for the Town of Amherstburg.”
The WEBC group believes the cross-country trail could be built for about $15,000 and they are keen for conditional approval so they can start raising funds like they did for Phase 1. They are asking the Town to provide some assistance moving about 90 cubic metres of dirt from one section of the Libro to another, similar to what the Town did for Phase 1.
The group also wants to partner with ERCA on a tree planting initiative coinciding with construction of Phase 2, which they hope to complete by the Spring or Summer of 2024.
“Not only would adding more trees help the local environment, but also more trees near the trail would add to the overall aesthetic and create a more enjoyable riding experience for riders using the trail,” said the WEBC report to Council. “It would be a relatively simple enhancement to the area while the trails are being constructed.”
All trail designs and construction will follow the International Mountain Bike Association Standards of Trail Building, similar to what was done for Phase 1.
Kudos to these cycling enthusiasts for bringing this proposal to Council and for everything you have done to boost cycling in Amherstburg, including a new bike store downtown and the formation of a mountain biking club at North Star High School.
Below is a picture of the Phase 1 Trail system. Phase 2 would be to the left of the light blue cross-country trail.