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Health, Safety, Economic Development and Food Access
1. Paved shoulders will provide safe access to grocery shopping for families and individuals who live in Lakeview and M’Chigeeng, two communities that can be considered food deserts, without a grocery store. Paved shoulders will encourage those who choose to move bicycles to make this shopping trip safely. Thereby empowering all to move in an active way for about 8 months of the year.
2. Healthy Active Living for Children is achieved with daily exercise. Safe paved shoulders on Hwy 551, will entice young people to cycle to Lakeview P.S. and from Mindemoya to Manitoulin Secondary School in M’Chigeeng. Many young people will cycle this 12km ride as a natural workout when provided with the safety of paved shoulders. Cycling has been proven to be a great way to prevent obesity, so prevalent in our young people.
3. Healthy Active Living for all: we know that the community at large will pick up cycling when provided with a safe space to do so. We have seen a great active living increase between these two communities and anticipate it to grow exponentially when provided with a safer space. The health benefits within a active living community are well documented and save enormous health dollars. Cycling creates upbeat, active health happy individuals and communities.
4. The Great Spirit Circle Trail has been very successful in creating tourism packages that stimulate the local economy. Part and parcel of the experiences they offer is cycling in and around M’Chigeeng and to other communities. Paved shoulders will greatly benefit the overall experience and safety of these cycling packages.
5. Paved shoulders, as we know from many studies increase the potential age of a new road by 5 years. Australian studies have proven that paved shoulders prevent automobile accidents by 41%. Human suffering and OHIP cost savings far outweigh initial infrastructure costs.
6. LAMBAC together with FEDNOR & MICA have created a Manitoulin Island Cycling Project Strategy paper. Road improvements between M’Chigeeng & Mindemoya have been identified with specific mention of paving the shoulders of this stretch of highway.
7. MICA’s Cycling Routes & Road Map, printed in 2012, has two loops leading along this 12km stretch on Hwy 551. MICA has made considerable inroads making Manitoulin known to cyclists as an ideal place to cycle.