Despite a previous set-back, the Capital Regional District has set out on a new path in order to light and widen two regional trails.
The CRD had been hoping to receive grants for a project to widen and light the Galloping Goose and Lochside trails, but none was coming through.
Rather than continuing to postpone the project, the transportation committee for the regional board just unanimously voted to move ahead with finding alternate funding options for the $53.5 million project.
Staff recommended to the board that the funds be included in the 2024-2028 financial plan, with funding to be secured through debt. The committee did ask staff to continue seeking grants or other funding opportunities to help offset the cost.
The two trails cover more than 80 kilometres connecting the region from Sooke, through downtown Victoria, and up to the Saanich Peninsula.
According to the regional district, the trails average 3.8 million visits annually, and the CRD board chair, Colin Plant, previously told CHEK News the trails get busier each year.
“Every year we’re setting new records for more people using them,” said Plant on April 28. “As we see these trails become more used we have to do the upgrades people are asking for but we haven’t found any revenue to do it so it hasn’t moved forward.”
CRD staff recommended the project be completed in five phases, starting with the areas near the Selkirk Trestle and moving outward towards the Peninsula then West Shore.
-With a file from CHEK’s Kori Sidaway