The Town of the Blue Mountains (TBM) is in the process of applying for a federal grant that may assist the municipality in creating additional parking lots near trailheads.
“We discussed the trailhead parking and webcams and we felt it would be a good project to apply for this,” said Ruth Prince, director of finance and IT services for TBM.
TBM will be applying for the Healthy Communities Grant Initiative, a $31 million investment from the federal government that was established to assist municipalities in transforming public spaces in response to COVID-19.
Canadian municipalities are able to apply for grant funds, ranging from $5,000 to $25,000, under three streams – safe and vibrant public spaces, improved mobility and digital solutions.
“We're going to apply for $250,000, which is the full amount, the maximum amount that we can apply for,” Prince added.
TBM is looking to acquire the grant funds to help create additional parking near outdoor recreational areas, an ongoing problem that has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
“Lack of parking at these areas pre-dates the onset of COVID-19 and staff anticipate that this capacity issue will continue into the future,” said Prince in a staff report to council.
Town staff have identified four potential trailhead locations that require upgrades to parking:
The grant application will look to specifically address the three town-owned properties at Pretty River Provincial Park and Loree Forest.
According to Prince, a detailed budget has not been created for these projects.
“However, as a benchmark the town budgeted $103,000 to extend the Metcalfe Rock parking lot and feel that the $250,000 would allow for some good improvements to the three locations,” Prince stated.
In addition to creating new parking areas, the town is also looking to install webcams, which would allow individuals to check how busy the parking lots are before leaving the house.
The deadline to apply is March 9 and application results are expected to be received by the end of April. If TBM receives the funding, the correlating projects must be completed by June 30.
Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca