VANCOUVER -- The provincial government has approved grants for improved pedestrian and cycling infrastructure in 23 communities around British Columbia, including six projects on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, as well as three on the South Coast.

The funding is part of the province's Active Transportation Grants program, and totals nearly $9 million across the 23 infrastructure projects and 21 planning projects in smaller communities.

Infrastructure projects approved under the program can include improvements to sidewalks, improved lighting along pathways, multi-use and protected travel lanes for cyclists and pedestrians, and other amenities that connect people to public transit, downtown areas and schools, according to a news release from the provincial government.

The grants program is part of the province's efforts to meet its CleanBC climate change goals. The B.C. government is also pitching the investments as a way to help rebuild the province's economy after COVID-19.

“People throughout B.C. have a real appetite for safe, alternative ways of getting around,” said Claire Trevena, B.C.'s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, in the news release. “One way to restart our provincial economy is to work with municipalities and Indigenous communities to support new active transportation projects.

“The funding we are providing will make it easier for people to connect and interact in their community, address the issues of climate change and congestion, and help with people’s physical and mental well-being," she said.

On Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, six projects have been funded:

  • The Comox Valley Regional District will receive $35,000 for the Gull Road Trail on Hornby Island, which will connect with the existing roadside trail network and regional and provincial parks. The new multi-use trail will benefit pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians.
  • Nanaimo will receive $500,000 toward Phase 1 of the Metral Drive Complete Street Corridor Project, which will provide continuous sidewalks, unidirectional protected cycle tracks, raised intersections, curb extensions and marked crosswalks.
  • North Cowichan will receive $282,433 toward the Chemainus Road Multi-Modal Improvements Project that connects to the neighbouring Cowichan Valley Trail. The project includes pedestrian facilities, actuated crossings, protected bicycle parking and accessibility improvements.
  • Oak Bay and the University of Victoria will share $316,380 toward Oak Bay’s University Drive Connection Pathway, which will be a bidirectional bicycle pathway serving approximately 1,370 cyclists per school day. The existing pathway will be converted to a pedestrian-only pathway and serve approximately 700 pedestrians daily.
  • Salt Spring Island will receive $490,000 for Phase 2 of the Lower Ganges Road Pathway that will connect residents to the downtown core.
  • And Victoria will receive $401,250 for the city's Harbour Road Bi-Directional Protected Bike Lane Project, which will improve the connection between the Capital Regional District's regional trail network and downtown Victoria.

A full list of all the projects being funded around the province can be found here.