Bridge offers a better path to Port Dalhousie///August 11, 2011

Terry Meunier enjoys cycling with her husband, Bob.

But she was reluctant to join him on treks into Port Dalhousie.

That's because she didn't feel safe riding where there were no bike lanes.

Those fears are gone, thanks to the new pedestrian bridge connecting Jaycee Gardens and Rennie Park over a section of Martindale Pond.

"This has made all the difference for me coming down here," said Terry, of the span that had its official opening ceremony Wednesday.

At least twice a week now, the Meuniers cycle down Linwell Rd. to Ontario St. for a short stretch before they turn into Jaycee Gardens. It's all pathway and a 275-metre bridge into Old Port from there.

Port's the ultimate destination for the cyclists, but the journey along the new route has also allowed the Meuniers to become familiar with Jaycee Gardens.

"Nobody uses it," said Bob, "and it's a beautiful park. It's great being able to come and enjoy the facilities the city has to offer."

St. Catharines Mayor Brian McMullan noted at Wednesday's ceremony how quickly the bridge has gained acceptance from residents.

It has received nothing but "accolades," said McMullan.

St. Catharines MP Rick Dykstra, who was instrumental in delivering federal cash for the project, also spoke of the keen interest in the bridge. He recalled how people were determined in mid-May to walk across the span prior to the landscaping and approaches being completed.

"That says a lot about what this means to the community," he said.

The bridge and connecting trails to the parks were part of a community improvement project, funded largely by a $2.3-million federal grant. Other project elements include improvements to the inner range lighthouse, a rehabilitation of Dalhousie House and a watermain installation. The total project cost was $2.6-million.

"If the federal government wants to give us 90 cents on the dollar, we're there," said McMullan.

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