The Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone today announced a South Okanagan-based pilot project for its new cycling tourism signage and marketing strategy.
This was one of the commitments made in the Province’s 10-year transportation plan, B.C. on the Move.
“It makes perfect sense that we’re here in the heart of the Okanagan to launch the South Okanagan Similkameen Cycling Network,” said Stone. “This is the first of what we hope will be a provincewide strategy to promote cycling tourism in B.C. and I’d like to thank the City of Penticton and the Regional District for the tremendous amount of work they’ve done creating their cycling network and being advocates for cycling tourism.”
Signs will be installed across the region which will identify routes for cyclists to follow. Cyclists of all skill levels who visit the region will be able to go online to the Regional District’s website and find the route they want to take. Once they hit the road, the route signs will guide them along a route of their choice - whether that’s a leisurely day ride through wine country or a challenging multi-day ride of several hundred kilometres.
“The Regional District is very pleased to see that the Province is now recognizing this Region’s cycling network as the world class network that it is,” said Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen chair Mark Pendergraft. “People come from around the world to ride, train and race throughout the South Okanagan-Similkameen. Now the required infrastructure will be put in place to support that interest and make it safer for everyone.”
As the pilot for the marketing and signage strategy, the South Okanagan Similkameen Cycling Network will help guide the creation of the provincial cycling tourism signage and marketing strategy and inspire other potential cycling routes in the province. The ministry will work with Destination BC, local governments and stakeholder groups to promote cycling tourism in various regions throughout B.C.
“Penticton and the South Okanagan have world-class cycling terrain - road, mountain and recreational cycling. The community truly is a cycling destination, with amenities that support active, healthy lifestyles for local residents and visitors,” said City of Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit. “Cycling is part of our culture, which is why Penticton has developed signature sport tourism events like Challenge Penticton and Prospero Grandfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan. We are extremely happy that the Province of B.C. has launched a pilot project recognizing the unique cycling experience here in the South Okanagan.”
In support of the regional trail network, the City of Penticton partnered with local businesses like Bike Barn to build a “bike hub” at the Peach Plaza, providing a bike pump, racks, repair tools and water bottle filling station for cyclists to use at no charge. The new South Okanagan Similkameen Cycling Guide - a co-operative effort between South Okanagan local governments - shows the array of cycling trails and routes throughout the region in a convenient, foldable pocket map easy for any cyclist to carry.
“I’m thrilled to see this vision finally becoming a reality, thanks to the drive and passion of everyone at the Regional District and the City,” said MLA for Penticton Dan Ashton. “We already boast so many reasons to visit the South Okanagan and Similkameen areas. This new cycling network will only enhance our outstanding reputation as a first-class destination.”
Cycling was a key component of B.C. on the Move and during consultations the ministry heard that enhanced cycling infrastructure and improved transportation choices are important to British Columbians.
The Government of B.C. is also investing $18 million over the next three years through the BikeBC cost-sharing program to help local governments build projects that attract and support commuter, recreational and tourism cyclists - making cycling a safer and more convenient option for travellers. Since 2001, the Province has committed over $155 million for cycling infrastructure and has worked with local governments to create new bicycle lanes and trails in over 100 communities.
For information on the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen’s cycling network, go to: www.clickhikebike.com
For the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s cycling information, go to: http://gov.bc.ca/cyclingtourism
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure