Mount Brydges – It’s been a little over a year since we announced that the Ontario Trillium Foundation awarded the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Foundation a $94,000 Capital grant to complete a 12-month reconstruction of a 1 km accessible boardwalk (Mill Stream Trail) at Longwoods Road Conservation Area. It’s the location of a provincially significant wetland in the Municipality of Strathroy-Caradoc, in Middlesex County. Plans were to have the 35 year old boardwalk removed and the new boardwalk completed by a general contractor in time for the fall of 2020, followed by a public opening event. Then COVID-19 happened, resulting in strict safety guidelines for work sites and a shortage of construction materials.
In the meantime, lots has been happening with the project since late February of 2020, despite the setbacks presented by the pandemic. The Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority (LTVCA) agreed to provide some additional financial support to cover increasing costs. And with the helping hands of individuals working on Oneida Job Development and Ontario Job Creation projects, under the guidance of LTVCA’s Eastern District Supervisor – Vance Stark, the old boardwalk platform was removed.
The new boardwalk construction was awarded to Lucas Michielsen and his Parkhill company “Millworks Custom Carpentry and Stone” (millworksccs). They assumed site responsibility for the installation of the helical piles last year. Michielsen and his crew were at Longwoods yesterday, prepping for the boardwalk construction, being careful to not disturb the valley wall. With this construction underway, the Mill Stream Trail has been closed to the public until the work is completed. Weekly progress will be posted on our social media platforms so be sure to watch the developments! All construction is being completed to protect the environmental features and integrity of the area.
We hope to have this trail ready for public use in the next couple of months. It is one of very few trails in the area that allow students with mobility issues to join their fellow classmates in hands on learning about wetlands. It is also one of a very few places that anyone with a mobility issue/device can be fully immersed in nature. The improved trail will be available for families using strollers, allowing them to also get right down to the wetland. There is much evidence that being immersed in nature leads to improvement in overall health and there are limited opportunities for individuals with mobility issues to interact fully with nature. This trail will continue to provide an opportunity for all individuals to enjoy nature and be active, so important during these difficult times. The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations.
For further information
Randall Van Wagner – LTVCA Manager Conservation Lands and Services