Erin Riverwalk trail could cost up to $2 million according to Stempski Kelly report

Town council got its first look last week into the Erin Riverwalk project, which could cost up to $2 million.

Sean Kelly of Stempski Kelly Associates (SKA) presented a 140-page report on the project at the Sept. 13 meeting.

SKA was retained to determine the feasibility of implementing a Riverwalk Trail for Erin. Kelly’s presentation included a map of the proposed trail along with the cost.

The trail consists of four circuits, three in Erin and one in Hillsburgh.

The downtown circuit is 1.8km with a primary staging area and two secondary staging areas at an estimated cost of $205,000. It starts off Main Street and loops around the West Credit River from Charles Street to Churchill Lane.

The West Credit circuit loops 1.5km around the West Credit River from Churchill to Dundas Street West and includes a primary staging area and a secondary staging area. The cost is an estimated $376,000.

The Stanley Park circuit surrounds the Stanley Park ponds. The 2.3km loop includes two primary staging areas and one secondary staging area that connects to the Elora Cataract Trail. The cost is an estimated $195,000.

The Hillsburgh circuit circumnavigates the Mill Pond. The 3.4km loop is estimated to cost $620,000 and includes one secondary staging area and two connections to the Elora Cataract Trail.

“This has been a longtime vision for community and the town of Erin and we are very pleased to have this initial town step completed,” said economic development officer Robyn Mulder.

Kelly explained there were two focus areas for the feasibility study: downtown Erin and the Mill Pond area in Hillsburgh.

“What we’re trying to do is connect the (Elora Cataract Trail) or sort of regional trailways back down to downtown areas and the urban areas,” he said.

The study also looked at a partnership with the Rotary Club as well as public input.

“General comments that came from some of the written comments we had (were) very supportive of trail development,” said Kelly.

He said the report answers one question: is it feasible? “Absolutely it’s feasible.”

Kelly said in order to be successful the project  would require funding, staff resources and community participation, along with a commitment by council.

“The project in its entirety can expect costs between one and two million dollars, which might seem a lot, but when you break it down in segments and into workable, achievable segments … I think definitely that can be done for this town,” added Mulder.

Mayor Allan Alls asked councillors to not talk about the financial aspect as it is still in such an early stage. Councillors agreed this is a good thing for the town.

“This could help transform Erin to the next level,” said councillor Matt Sammut.

Interim CAO Derek McCaughan said the report will be made public and the recommendations need to be vetted by staff.

“(Mulder) will come back to council with her insight as to what we wish to pursue and what we should consider parking for a number of (years)” McCaughan said.

“But this will all be part of the process going forward. Dollar figures will have to be dealt with in the 2017 budget deliberations.”