People in communities throughout B.C. will soon benefit from better cycling, pedestrian and other active-transportation infrastructure that will safely connect neighbourhoods to parks, schools and town centres.
“Climate action must include investments in infrastructure that enable people to choose environmentally friendly modes of travel that are critical to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, like walking, biking and rolling,” said Bowinn Ma, Minister of State for Infrastructure. “These safe transportation options protect the environment, connect communities and are key to B.C.’s recovery plan and our commitment to climate action.”
Thirty-three Indigenous and local governments will receive funding for projects that align with provincial priorities to increase the number of people walking and cycling, as well as improving the safety and health of vulnerable road users, community connectivity, accessibility, tourism and climate change mitigation.
“We know that people are enthusiastic about using active transportation as an affordable, safe, climate-friendly and enjoyable way to get around,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “That’s why we’re making these investments in safe bike routes, walking paths and other local active-transportation infrastructure. This program is one of many ways we’re working to create more liveable and better-connected communities all across B.C.”
Increasing the accessibility of active-transportation networks and other green modes of transportation is central to Move. Commute. Connect., B.C.’s comprehensive strategy to make local transportation safer, greener and more accessible for all British Columbians. Over the next three years, $36 million has been committed to the Active Transportation Infrastructure Grants program, with nearly $13.7 million in funding awarded in 2021.
“Investments through this grant program support the environment, benefit the tourism industry and help meet the needs of urban and rural communities across B.C.,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “These projects will improve community health, affordability and safety, so people of all ages and abilities can benefit from cleaner air and better connections.”
The funding will also help 29 additional Indigenous and local governments develop active-transportation network plans that align with the B.C. Active Transportation Design Guide. Network plans are an eligibility requirement for infrastructure funding through the grant program.
The District of Invermere and the Shuswap Indian Band received a joint network planning grant in 2020. This year, the District of Invermere will receive $500,000 to make safety enhancements to a 550-metre multi-use trail that serves all Invermere schools. It also connects with regional trail systems, making it safer for people to choose active modes of getting around.
“The District of Invermere is excited and thankful for the continued support we have received for active-transportation projects in and around our community,” said Al Miller, mayor of Invermere. “A healthy and safe multi-use pathway upgrade, directly servicing our neighbourhoods, community schools and connecting the Invermere trail system with regional trail networks is a giant positive and will be used and appreciated by many on a daily basis.”
The Active Transportation Infrastructure Grant Program supports goals set out in the Province’s CleanBC plan, as well as Move. Commute. Connect. As much as $500,000 per project in cost-shared funding is available for Indigenous and local governments to build new infrastructure and make improvements on existing networks. Up to $50,000 per project is available to help communities develop plans for future active-transportation infrastructure.
CleanBC is a pathway to a more prosperous, balanced and sustainable future. It supports government’s commitment to climate action to meet B.C.’s emission targets and build a cleaner, stronger economy for everyone.
Active Transportation Infrastructure Grant Program: www.gov.bc.ca/activetransportationgrant
Move. Commute. Connect., B.C.’s Active Transportation Strategy: www.gov.bc.ca/active-transportation
A backgrounder follows.