New businesses could be popping up along both the Galloping Goose and Lochside trails as the District of Saanich looks at ways to add more to its green corridors.
Fred Haynes, mayor of Saanich, said the idea of pop-up businesses and food trucks along the trail systems has been quietly discussed for years, but as pandemic restrictions end and more people are hitting the trails, he believes now is the right time to make the discussion public.
“It’s two things. First of all it’s a new economic development piece for Saanich, but it also gives more convenience,” said Haynes. “Those people riding to work can pick up lunch, pick up a coffee, or even have a little meeting on the way.”
It’s unclear what kind of businesses could be placed along the trail. Haynes believes “the sky’s the limit” with something like this, but his initial thoughts are portable food trucks, fruit stands, or flower markets.
“Then instead of just being a commute to work, it can also be more fun of a commute, like ‘hey, let’s go down the Goose and get a coffee, or pick up a donut, or pick up something,'” Haynes said.
According to the District of Saanich about 20,000 people use these trail systems per day.
Capital Bike said that number is expected to grow as more people are taking up cycling.
“We had a pretty strong bike-to-work culture, but what we saw was a shift away from people riding to work to a shift to more people riding during the day for recreation and on the weekend for recreation,” Corey Burger, with Capital Bike, said. “That ties nicely to the destinations on the trails.”
Some avid trail users told CHEK News that they are intrigued by the idea of having businesses along the corridor.
“Certainly at this point in the ride today I would love to have a cold lemonade,” Christine Scott said.
Another cyclist said it wouldn’t hurt to have things like fruit or energy bars for sale.
While Lisbie Rae, area cyclist, raised concerns about this impacting small businesses around the trails.
“My one caution is that there are some coffee shops that depend on cyclists to a fair extent,” Rae said. “I would want to make sure that wherever you put them is far enough away from the coffee shops that you’re not deterring people from going there.”
Haynes said this idea is in the early stages.
It is expected to be brought up at during an economic report coming to council on Sept. 18.
This report is expected to include possible locations, cost and permitting requirements.
Haynes is asking residents to send council businesses they would like to see or suggestions on how this should roll out.