Amendment will enhance cycling

Provincial funding available to apply to build addition

Powell River’s 10-year plan to improve cycling access on local streets will undergo modification.

City of Powell River Council carried a motion to include Powell River Recreation Complex as part of the extended network.

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Council voted that the municipal cycling plan be amended to include Phase IIC—a separated bike lane and multi-use pathway around the recreation complex—and that council endorse the submission of a grant application to BikeBC for Phase II of the Municipal Cycling Plan.

At the council meeting, Councillor Russell Brewer, an avid cyclist, said he was happy to see the addition and it makes sense to have a path around the recreation complex, connecting up with the rest of the cycling network that the city is developing.

He acknowledged the assistance from Powell River Cycling Association, particularly Dr. Chris Morwood, who spent a lot of time working with city staff members. City staff members were also to be commended, Brewer said, for the work that has been undertaken.

“This is a great amendment to the bike plan and it just makes sense, connecting the bike and skate park,” Brewer said. The path will also be good for other wheeled access, such as for scooters and wheelchairs.

Acting Mayor Rob Southcott said his understanding was that the motion had come from the committee of the whole meeting two days previously, and it had progressed very rapidly into council’s hands. “Does this have something to do with getting a little more money from the province?” he prompted.

Brewer said there is a grant opportunity, and the reason it came so quickly to council is that there is a May 15 submission deadline. The city is hoping to receive 50 per cent provincial funding, to a possible total of $440,000. Brewer said he believed the city had received $90,000 this year for the cycling plan.

“The great benefit of the cycling plan that we have is we are usually ready when grant opportunities come up,” he said. “Not a lot of other communities are at the level where we are at.

“As was the case with this one, there wasn’t a lot of notice. The provincial government tends to send these out without a whole lot of lead time.”

Southcott said the whole cycling plan is going to be financed from gas tax money, so it’s another stream of financing that comes into this community. He said he was grateful for it.

Brewer said the program, as originally constituted, had to fund projects that provide for clean air, clean water and reduce greenhouse gases. There have been changes to project applicability this past year and now, roughly $600,000 will come out of the gas tax fund to finance road improvement in Powell River this year.

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