Some Shuswap infrastructure projects will move forward with a boost from the province in the coming year.
Seventy-four projects across B.C. to plan and build safer, more inclusive active transportation are to receive grant money from the province in 2023. The Active Transportation Infrastructure Grants approve projects to build and improve multi-use pathways, protected bike lanes, pedestrian bridges and regional connections. The grant money can also go towards upgrading lighting, sidewalks and improving other safety measures. For this funding cycle, $20 million was budgeted, an increase over 2021-2022’s $8 million.
Salmon Arm will use funding to work on phase 2 of the Ross Street underpass project, connecting the downtown core and the waterfront underneath the CP Railway tracks. The Columbia Shuswap Regional District, in partnership with Splatsin, will receive funding to work on the Shuswap North Okanagan Rail Trail, including road crossings, barriers and signage to allow for safer access and recreational active transportation use. Chase will receive money for pedestrian upgrades on Coburn Street, in phase one of that project, for a dedicated pedestrian lane connecting to the existing sidewalk at Shuswap Avenue, ending at Okanagan Avenue.
The province will partner with the local, regional and Indigenous governments to invest up to $500,000. Indigenous governments and partnerships between Indigenous and local governments will be eligible for 80 per cent of a project’s cost, while local governments alone can receive 50 to 70 per cent, based on population size.
“We know that people will choose active transportation more often when there is safe and accessible infrastructure for it in their communities,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “We’re investing in new and improved infrastructure to give families more options, which will benefit generations of British Columbians and help us meet our climate goals.”
Active transportation refers to any human-powered means of movement, used to commute to work, school, or other tasks and for recreation and socializing. These include walking and running, cycling, in-line skating and skateboarding, among others.