Cowichan awarded $440K to close trail gap

The Cowichan Valley is one of five communities on the Island receiving provincial funds to improve cycling opportunities this year.

The Cowichan Valley is one of five communities on the Island receiving provincial funds to improve cycling opportunities this year.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced Thursday that Cowichan was in line for $440,000 of a nearly-$1.4-million BikeBC pot to expand and build cycling lanes, trails and paths for cyclists and pedestrians.

“These are new funds, not previously announced funds,” confirmed CVRD parks and trails manager Brian Farquhar.

He said the provincial BikeBC grant will allow the CVRD, in partnership with Malahat Nation, to complete a key section of the Cowichan Valley Trail, closing the gap in the Trans Canada Trail route between Shawnigan Lake and the Capital Regional District’s Galloping Goose Trail.

The new section will be close to four kilometres in length.

“Completing this key trail link will greatly expand the interconnection of trails on southern Vancouver Island, increasing outdoor recreation access for cyclists and hikers,” Farquhar said.

Other communities receiving BikeBC funds this time around include: Langford ($321,350), Port Alberni ($70,000), Saanich ($140,000), and Victoria ($440,000).

The funds come from B.C. on the Move, the province’s new 10-year transportation plan aimed at improving British Columbia’s overall transportation network.

BikeBC is the province’s cost-sharing program that helps local governments build cycling projects that attract and support both recreational and commuting cyclists as well as pedestrians.

B.C. on the Move has committed $18 million over the next three years to the BikeBC program.

“By increasing our funding for the BikeBC program by 50 per cent this year, more communities in B.C. have been able to enhance their cycling infrastructure, benefitting both residents and visitors,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “The scope and variety of these projects on Vancouver Island are impressive and once completed, will increase cycling opportunities for people up and down the Island.”