Minister Champagne reviews Oakville’s trails and public transit

Minister Champagne reviews Oakville’s trails and public transit
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Mashaal Effendi

Mashaal Effendi

Mashaal Effendi is a writer and new Canadian, having started the new chapter of his life moving to Canada, with Oakville as his first home, which always carries a special place in his heart.Mashaal has worked as a writer in film, television, theatre, advertising, communications, and even in speechwriting during his time as a Toastmaster.An avid reader, video game enthusiast, and musician ( who presently plays drums for a band called "The Downgrades"), Mashaal enjoys gathering experiences around Oakville, and telling stories that make Oakville the special place that it is.

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On Monday, July 8th the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities arrived in Oakville to check out local projects. The projects have benefitted from federal infrastructure funding.

Joining the Minister was:


François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Mayor Rob Burton, and MP Pam Damoff discussing the Crosstown heritage Trail which underwent $735,000 in upgrades.

The Minister toured the Crosstown Heritage Trail. Pam Damoff led officials down the beautiful heritage path. They admired the bike-repair stations strategically located on the trail, and stopped to speak with Oakville residents.

The Crosstown heritage Trail has undergone $735,000 in upgrades including $160,000 in federal funds from the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program in 2018. Part of the 57 km trail runs along the natural gas pipeline between Upper Middle Road and Dundas Street, spanning Bronte Creek Provincial Park to Ninth Line.

Enhancements include:

  • Increasing the trail by 3 km, from Neyagawa Boulevard to Eight Line
  • Widening sections of the trail
  • Replacing limestone screening with asphalt to provide ease of access for cyclists and persons with disabilities
  • Placing benches in rest areas
  • Installing trail counting data recorders
  • Adding trail signage and pedestrian crossings
  • Creating as well as improving  landscaping and drainage

MP Damoff and Hon. François-Philippe Champagne speaking with Oakville bikers using the Crosstown Heritage Trail.

Just as  Minister said good-bye to his new Oakville friends on the trail, the Director of Oakville Transit, Barry Cole joined the party.  Mr. Cole accompanied the group from River Oaks to the Transit Depot using a Oakville Transit bus.

The Minister toured the interior of the Oakville Transit Depot. He marvelled at the its state-of-the-art  inner workings. Champagne visited the control room where all the bus and transit routes are monitored, coordinated, and communicated.

To top it all off, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne tried out the bus simulator. It is used to train the fleet of Oakville Transit bus drivers. Naturally, the trip was not complete before the Minister and the Mayor met with the people who make the gears move.

A Real Difference:

Minister Champagne also made time to meet with Sofia Dershko, a local transit user who lives with autism. Sofia can not apply for her driving license, and like her there are many who rely heavily on accessible transit.

Despite her neuropsychological conditions, Sophia is a champion:

  • Winning five Gold medals at the 2011 World Games held in Athens Greece.
  • Graduating from the White Oaks Futures Program.
  • Holding a place as a valued employee at the Iroquois Ridge Community Centre.

One of Sofia’s biggest accomplishments is her eloquence before the Town of Oakville’s Budget Committee. At committee meetings, Sofia advocates for accessible public transit, and opposes proposed Oakville Transit budget reductions.

Sofia Dershko with Minister Champagne.

“There’s a lot of people in Oakville who do not want to see the bus system taken away or neglected,” said Sofia’s mother. “It’s very important that people know the difficulties that not having a reliable bus transit system can make.”

“The Federal Government has demonstrated commitment to public transit not just in Oakville but across the GTA,” said Director Cole.

“The funding that they provided has been instrumental in us being able to perform in some of our really important projects. We have significant needs and we need participation at all levels of government so having the Minister here is really important,” iterated the Director of Oakville Transit as we took a ride in our bus which was funded in part by the same federal funding program.

Barry Cole

Barry Cole, Director of Oakville Transit.

The Minister commented on Oakville’s well serviced infrastructure, along with Oakville’s our welcoming atmosphere. “I’ve been here for a few hours and I’m already in love with this city,” said the Minister in his closing address.

“Thank you to the Honourable Minister Champagne, MP Damoff, and Mayor Burton for such great conversations about green infrastructure, active transportation, the Green Economy, and Oakville Transit” said Lisa Kohler, Executive Director of the Halton Environmental Network. “So much great work has been supported in Oakville and I’m excited about new projects coming up!”

Minister Champagne highlighted some of his commitments:

  • Eight new 30-foot growth buses in the region
  • Two accessibility-growth buses
  • Refurbished 15 2009-year buses, bike lockers, and racks.

Mayor Rob Burton final thoughts. “It’s been a lovely day for a tour of our trails, and other infrastructure that have benefitted from money and higher orders of government.”

“Oakville is a city that calls itself a town, acts like a village, and likes to get around. Thanks to commitment from the Minister of Infrastructure and Community, we can do just that,” continued the Mayor.

To read more about the town of Oakville’s Crosstown Heritage Trail’s funding or to check out the Oakville Transit pathways, make sure to check out the Town of Oakville’s website.

To read more about the funding that Oakville Transit has received, read here.


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