January 13, 2016 - 10:30 AM
OKANAGAN - The B.C. Cycling Coalition is mounting a campaign to petition the province to provide $1 billion for bike trails in B.C., and a local group working to make an Okanagan Valley-long trail more public is supporting the initiative.
“We want the provincial government to help enable everyone in the province to cycle and walk in their daily trips,” B.C. Cycling Coalition Executive Director Richard Campbell says.
He says the coalition has made a submission to the provincial government for $1 billion over 10 years, based on estimates the group has come up with of funds needed to support cycling and walking trails across the province.
He says the petition, Cycling for Everyone - A Billion For Bikes, is meant to step up funding because at present rates it will take years to build cycling infrastructure to the stage envisioned by the coalition.
Campbell urges residents to sign the petition and notes donations can also be made to help support the organization.
Trail of the Okanagans President Henry Sielmann says the group’s vision of a 250-kilometre long trail running from Osoyoos to Sicamous is not a trail that 'we necessarily have to build'.
“There are a lot of sections that are already available or could become available over the next few year, and we saw an opportunity with B.C, Cycling Coalition to bring this up to the awareness level,” Sielmann says, adding the group has been working locally the last few months between Summerland and Penticton.
He says now is the time to bring the complete vision out into the open.
“We’re not trying to be an umbrella organization for everyone,” Sielmann says, noting several organizations are currently working to establish a connected valley-long trail. “What we’re trying to do is get a vision of this amazing opportunity to develop into a world class trail. If we can increase awareness even amongst the provincial leadership, we’ll stand a better chance not only of raising the funds but also of developing a homogeneous trail where similar signage, and trail features are explained along the way.”
According to the coalition’s executive summary in its Climate Leadership Plan Submission to the province in September 2015, almost 70 per cent of B.C. adults ride a bicycle at least once a year, 42 per cent once a month and 25 per cent at least once a week. Sixty-five per cent of adults said they would ride more if there were separated bike lanes to protect them from traffic. In B.C., 65 per cent of commutes are under 10 km, making them practical to do using an electric bicycle, the report says.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016