North Cowichan is considering setting up a bike-share program. (File photo)

North Cowichan looks at setting up a bike-share program

Staff to conduct feasibility study

The Cowichan Valley could soon have its own bike-share program.

The Municipality of North Cowichan is conducting a feasibility study that will outline possible delivery models and options for a bike-share program in North Cowichan’s south-end commercial core and the City of Duncan.

Bike share is a service that makes public bicycles available for shared use to individuals on a short-term basis at a cost.

The bikes can be unlocked from one station and returned to any other station in the system.

SEE RELATED: Is your community bike-friendly enough?

The feasibility study came after students from Queen Margaret’s School made a presentation to North Cowichan’s parks and recreation advisory committee last month requesting a bike-share program be established locally.

North Cowichan councillor Tom Walker said at the council meeting on Feb. 7 that while the delegation from Queen Margaret’s School talked mainly of the success of bike-share programs in larger centres, he conducted an online search and was surprised by the number of smaller jurisdictions that have set up their own programs.

“The parks and recreation advisory committee thought a study on the issue would be worthwhile, so we’ll see if a bike-share program is feasible here [when the study is tabled],” he said.

Ernie Mansueti, North Cowichan’s director of parks and recreation, said staff will take a look at the potential for a bike-share program in the region and what opportunities are available in the community.

“We’ll also be contacting the Cowichan Valley Regional District and the City of Duncan for their input, and we’ll bring our report back to council when it is complete for a decision on what to do,” he said.

Mayor Jon Lefebure said he’s interested to hear back from staff as to how a bike-share program would operate in a smaller jurisdiction, like North Cowichan.

“I think a different formula for a bike-share program is needed for it to work here, but it would be great for the community,” he said.

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