Ontario Invests in Waterloo Region’s Rural Economic Development

Published on August 05, 2020

Provincial government provides nearly $125,000 in funding to enhance the Guelph to Goderich Trail and restore the Nith River Trail in New Hamburg

West Montrose – Mike Harris, MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga, was joined by Randy Pettapiece, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs to announce Ontario’s investment in key rural economic development projects in Waterloo Region. Overall, the province will be investing $124,078 to support the Guelph to Goderich Trail and the Nith River Trail in New Hamburg.

“It is with great pleasure to announce that the Province is actively supporting these key economic development projects that run through the heart of rural communities here in Waterloo Region,” said MPP Mike Harris. “I would like to thank the hard-working municipal employees and community volunteers who are ensuring that neighbouring residents can enjoy nature and support local businesses.”

Ontario will provide $76,078 to support the non-profit G2G Rail Trail Inc.’s wider $253,000 investment to fully resurface the trail system, hire a project manager, and create new wayfinding signage while inventorying the entire 132 km route.

“It is with great gratitude that G2G Rail Trail Inc. was able to apply and successfully receive a grant from OMAFRA via the Rural Economic Development (RED) program”, said Doug Cerson, Executive Director for G2G Rail Trail Inc. “From the centre of Guelph to the shores of Lake Huron at Goderich, the G2G Rail Trail experience connects people and inspires new outdoor experiences through our valued rural parts of Southwestern Ontario.”

"The G2G trail is a grass roots initiative that connects Guelph and our local trail systems to Goderich, providing many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors,” said Sandy Shantz, Mayor of the Township of Woolwich. “Our thanks to the province for supporting this community partnership.”

In New Hamburg, the Township of Wilmot will receive up to $48,000.00 to hire a project manager as well as an engineering and design services supplier to upgrade the Nith River Trail. With a total project cost of $161,000, the trail will be upgraded to include a trail head, heritage and directional signage, and accessibility components. This project will also include the stabilization of portions of the river bank to minimize erosion during flood events, and serve to protect the investment in the trail infrastructure while improving the overall health of the river and benefiting neighbouring rural communities downstream.

“The Nith River Pathway and Erosion Control project is just one in a series of initiatives Wilmot is undertaking to drive our local economy forward”, said Les Armstrong, Mayor of the Township of Wilmot. “We are thankful for the support of MPP Harris and the Province of Ontario on this project, as we collectively work together to safely re-open our economy.”

The Ontario government is committing $3.3 million in cost-share funding to 58 projects through the updated Rural Economic Development program (RED) to help rural and Indigenous communities diversify their economies, retain skilled workers, invest in local infrastructure, and create jobs.

“It was a pleasure to join MPP Harris and community leaders in Waterloo Region to announce provincial funding for two key projects through the Rural Economic Development Program,” said Randy Pettapiece, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "Enhancing the Guelph to Goderich Trail, in particular, will improve our quality of life and the local environment."

Quick Facts:

  • Ontario’s Rural Economic Development (RED) program is cost-share funding which supports activities that create strong rural communities in Ontario, and open doors to rural economic development by:
    • Providing funding assistance to address barriers to economic development, to better position rural communities to attract and retain jobs, and investment, and enhance economic growth;
    • Providing funding to build community capacity and support for economic development in Ontario’s rural communities; and
    • Investing in rural communities to help diversify and grow local economies – making economic growth more inclusive so Rural Ontario continues to share in the province’s economic prosperity.


  • The RED program offers two project streams:
    • Economic Diversification and Competitiveness: Projects that remove barriers to business and job growth, attract investment, attract or retain a skilled workforce, strengthen sector and regional partnerships and diversify regional economies.
    • Strategic Economic Infrastructure: Minor capital projects that advance economic development and investment opportunities.


  • For the Economic Diversification and Competitiveness Stream, the province will contribute up to 50 per cent of eligible project costs to a maximum of $150,000 while for the Strategic Economic Infrastructure Stream, the province invests up to 30 per cent of eligible project costs to a maximum of $250,000.