By Tyler Renaud 
BELLEVILLE – Funding for a cycling network that will spread across Belleville within the next three years was approved by city council Tuesday.
Council approved a $750,000 plan that is considered Phase 1 of the cycling-network implementation.
Deanna O’Leary, senior project manager in engineering and development services for the city of Belleville , said this funding is just the first step.
“The $750,000 is for the first five or six projects on the cycling network. The cycling network has about 20 different routes just in the first phase,” O’Leary said. “Then there is actually a second and third phase as well. The $750,000 is budgeted for a three-year plan for stand-alone projects solely for cycling.”
O’Leary says the project was originally scheduled to be done over five years, but the mayor and council wanted it done sooner.
“Council wanted to get the project done quicker because of the demand. Coun. (Egerton) Boyce has become an advocate for cycling and voiced his concerns that we were being too slow on our implementation of our cycling plan. And a few other councillors echoed these concerns,” O’Leary explained.
“Obviously, the budget that was just passed supports that four or five years wasn’t doing enough. In addition, Mayor (Taso) Christopher proposed the three-year plan because that would take them until the end of this council’s term.”
O’Leary also said that a branch of the cycling network that will run to the area of Loyalist College was approved in 2014 and the city is just working on aligning it with environmental constraints.