June 18, 2015 - 5:28 PM
NARAMATA - It was a day of rejoicing for bicycle enthusiasts across the South Okanagan with the announcement of a new cycling tourism strategy for the region.
Today’s announcement of the Cycling Tourism and Signage Marketing Program involves a provincial plan to identify the province’s cycling networks and develop a signage program, the initial result of which was unveiled this afternoon.
Tranportation Minister Todd Stone said it was the hope the program will be an example for the rest of the province. He said Penticton was chosen for the pilot program, in part, because a cycling network is already well established here.
Signage, designed in Penticton, will be placed along the region’s roadways next month and will help cyclists to more easily navigate South Okanagan bike routes. The South Okanagan SImilkameen Cycling Network is the pilot program for the new strategy.
The cost for the 120 signs, about $100,000, is fully funded by the province, however complementary signage, such as the new one erected at Peach Square, are the responsibility of local government. The signs will be erected along South Okanagan roadways by the end of July. A regional cycling map has also been produced for cyclists to carry with them and will be available at all visitors centres.
Accompanying the signage is a commitment by the ministry to provide additional sweeping of the road shoulders and more shoulder paving, Stone said.
Stone said the province’s Bike B.C. cost sharing program will see a provincial investment of $18 million over the next three years — an increase of 50 per cent — to assist B.C. local governments with other cycling projects. Cost shared with partnering governments, those dollars will leverage a total of $36 million for projects similar to the Trails of the Okanagans project currently underway in Summerland.
City of Penticton Economic Development Officer Colleen Pennington said the initiative took three years of cooperative effort between the city, the regional district and the province.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015