MORRISBURG — One of the most pedestrian-unfriendly retail strips in the region has taken a first step toward rehabilitation with a provincial grant announced in Morrisburg today — or at least it will on paper.
The Municipality of South Dundas and the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry will use the awarded $67,500 to “plan and design” a so-called ‘Morrisburg Streetscape’ for busy County Rd. 2 through the village.
With its collection of brand name eateries and modern retail establishments, the involved section of County Rd. 2 has emerged as Dundas County’s own mini version of Ottawa’s Merivale Rd. — minus the sidewalks.
The impending design exercise will consider lane reductions, medians and separated sidewalks, pedestrian areas, traffic calming elements as well as improved lighting and better access to local businesses. A redesign of the County Rd. 2 and County Rd. 31 intersection is also envisioned; a roundabout has not been ruled in or out at this point but SDG Warden Ian MacLeod did point to the success of previous examples. “Based on the resounding success of our roundabout projects in Iroquois and Long Sault, I am confident that a redesigned intersection will better facilitate the safe and efficient movement of traffic, pedestrians, and cyclists,” said MacLeod.
SD&G and South Dundas have already jointly developed conceptual “streetscaping” improvements for the project area over the last three years, and the latest initiative is expected to build upon that earlier effort.
Announced by local MPP Jim McDonell on behalf of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Ernie Hardeman, the grant money comes through the Rural Economic Development program, intended to stimulate economic growth in Ontario’s rural and Indigenous communities. Nearly one in eight jobs in the province is sustained by the agriculture and agri-food sector, according to Hardeman’s ministry.
“Our government is proud to support projects that help to grow jobs and open the doors to economic development in rural and Indigenous communities,” said McDonell, who also serves as Parliamentary Assistant to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. “Ontario has a first-class agri-food and agriculture sector, and I am pleased to be able to help our community identify their economic strengths and develop strategies that can attract business and investment.”
“Rural Ontario has been ignored for too long,” Hardeman said by way of a statement through McDonell. “A strong and vibrant agri-food and agriculture sector is a priority for this government. These investments, along with our commitment to cut red-tape, will help create a strong future for our rural communities by boosting economic growth, creating jobs and ensuring they are great places to live and do business.”
“We look forward to engaging local residents, businesses … as the design work progresses, with a view to creating an attractive and functional streetscape that works well for residents, businesses, and tourists visiting our area,” said MacLeod. “This funding announcement will allow an important project to move forward — a partnership between the Municipality of South Dundas and the County to redevelop a vital commercial area of Morrisburg along County Roads 2 and 31.”