Those attending the Fifth Annual Eastern Ontario Active Transportation (EOAT) Summit in Brockville this year will see a familiar Smiths Falls face. Troy Dunlop, Director of Public Works and Utilities, will be a member of the discussion panel.
Jeff Mills and Danielle Shewfelt, EOAT representatives, spoke at Smiths Falls Committee of the Whole Monday night. The thrust of their presentation was that rural communities need a different model of active transportation than big cities, and through the EOAT summits these rural models can be developed.
Smiths Falls also received a $25,000 Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program grant, as did 120 other municipalities across the province. Total program funding is $93 million, an increase from the $42.5 million announced earlier this year. This investment is part of Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan and is funded by proceeds from the province’s cap on pollution and carbon market.
This is the summit’s fifth year, previously held in Almonte, Renfrew, Kemptville and Carleton Place. This year it’s planned for Brockville, May 10 and 11. Twenty presenters are scheduled with panelists covering all facets of rural towns – economic development, planning, public works and more. Bicycle friendly communities are more attractive to tourists, and more tourist dollars are retained in the communities when tourists move at a slower, leisured rate. With Le Boat coming online, and ongoing development in Smiths Falls, both Mills and Shewfelt agreed street policies designed for people are a good direction for the Town to take.
Those who attend the summit could include elected municipal representatives, municipal staff (economic development, planning, public works, tourism, recreation), urban and rural citizen advocates, and businesses seeking to benefit from active travel and cycle tourism.