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Province invests in better pedestrian, cyclist infrastructure for northern B.C.

Residents from six northern communities will benefit from new and improved pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.

The Province’s Active Transportation Grants program is helping rebuild British Columbia’s economy out of the COVID-19 pandemic and meeting CleanBC climate goals.

“People throughout B.C. have a real appetite for safe, alternative ways of getting around,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “One way to restart our provincial economy is to work with municipalities and Indigenous communities to support new active transportation projects.

“It has been just a year since our government launched our provincial active transportation strategy, Move. Commute. Connect. The funding we are providing will make it easier for people to connect and interact in their community, address the issues of climate change and congestion, and help with people’s physical and mental well-being.”

The B.C. Active Transportation Infrastructure Grants program provides Indigenous governments, municipalities and regional districts with financial support to build new infrastructure and make improvements to existing networks. The program supports goals set out in the Province’s CleanBC plan, as well as Move. Commute. Connect. – B.C.’s strategy for cleaner, more active transportation. Together, these programs help British Columbia meet climate action targets that reduce B.C.’s carbon footprint and improve air quality for all residents.

“The Lake Babine Nation would like to take the opportunity to thank the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for supporting the Lake Babine Nation and the Village of Burns Lake for initiating this exciting new development within our community,” said Gordon Alec, Chief of Lake Babine First Nation. In partnership with the Village of Burns Lake, we will enable the safety of our citizens who choose active transportation methods. The sidewalk infrastructure will link residents to the hospital, schools, the seniors’ care home and all businesses throughout Burns Lake.”

Over $1.8 million in Active Transportation Infrastructure Grants have been awarded for the following 2020-21 projects:

  • Burns Lake and the Lake Babine First Nation are approved to receive $435,000 for a sidewalk improvement project that will connect the Lake Babine Nation to the local hospital, seniors’ care facilities, medical clinics and other community facilities.
  • Fort St. John is approved to receive $413,100 for three multi-use pathways that will improve community connectivity.
  • Gitga’at First Nation is approved to receive $433,866 for the Txalgiu Destination Trail that will include amenities and water access for paddling transportation.
  • Terrace is approved to receive $217,635 for the Munroe Street Active Transportation Enhancements project that will better connect the community and provide easier access to local schools.
  • Vanderhoof is approved to receive $328,226 for the Riverside Park multi-use path project that provides linkages to a community bus stop, seniors’ residence, key tourist attractions and downtown.  

The program also supports the development of community network plans for future active transportation infrastructure that aligns with the B.C. Active Transportation Design Guide. Northern B.C. will also benefit from an additional $25,000 in funding from the Active Transportation Network Planning Grant. The Witset First Nation is approved to receive this funding to develop active transportation network plans that may be considered for future infrastructure funding.

“Building well-connected transportation networks to meet the needs of people is important to our government and to my constituents on the North Coast,” said Jennifer Rice, MLA for North Coast. “Once completed, these projects will make walking to the grocery store, taking your wheelchair to the local coffee shop or going on an adventurous bike ride much easier and safer. I look forward to the completion of these projects so we can get out and enjoy the great outdoors together.”

Approved projects may include safety improvements to sidewalks, improved lighting along pathways, multi-use and protected travel lanes, and other amenities that connect people to public transit, downtown cores and schools. Projects receiving funding strengthen Indigenous initiatives, land use planning and have the potential to generate tourism and other economic benefits.

CleanBC is a pathway to a more prosperous, balanced and sustainable future. It was developed in collaboration with the BC Green Party caucus, and supports the commitment in the Confidence and Supply Agreement to implement climate action to meet B.C.’s emission targets.

Quotes:

Dolores Funk, Mayor, Village of Burns Lake –

“Redesigning our community to promote active transportation took a giant leap forward with the awarding of the grant to Lake Babine Nation and the Village of Burns Lake. The project will significantly improve safety and convenience for residents of our community, including seniors living in Heritage Manor Tweedsmuir House and students walking to school. On behalf of council, I would like to thank the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for investing in Burns Lake through the Active Transportation Grants program.

Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-West End –

“Over a year ago, Minister Trevena asked me to lead the consultations on our made-in-B.C. active transportation strategy, Move. Commute. Connect. I advocate for strong investments in safe bike routes, walking paths and other active transportation investments because when you give people more affordable, safe, clean and efficient ways to get around, you get better communities and happier, healthier people. It’s also a foundational part of our government’s plan to make life better for British Columbians. Investments through this grant program will help meet the needs of urban and rural communities, so people of all ages and abilities can benefit from better connections between neighbourhoods, transit stations and town centres.”

George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy –

“People across British Columbia are looking for cleaner, healthier ways to move around in their communities using safe, accessible infrastructure. Our CleanBC active transportation strategy is helping people of all ages and abilities find cleaner, more affordable modes of transportation that support liveable, connected neighbourhoods.”

Quick Fact:

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, has provided direction on physical distancing relating to going outside during the time of COVID-19. Henry has said that playgrounds, bike trails and running routes can be safely used as long as people limit gatherings to small numbers, avoid physical contact as much as possible, practise proper hand hygiene and stay home when sick.

Learn More:

Active Transportation Infrastructure Grant Program: www.gov.bc.ca/activetransportationgrant

Move. Commute. Connect. – B.C.’s Active Transportation Strategy: https://cleanbc.gov.bc.ca/active/

British Columbia Active Transportation Design Guide: www.gov.bc.ca/Activetransportationdesignguide

CleanBC: https://cleanbc.gov.bc.ca/

For a backgrounder detailing the 2020-21 Active Transportation Infrastructure Grants provincewide, visit: 
https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/2020_06_24_Backgrounder_Active_Tran_Grants.pdf

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