Tofino taxpayers are off the hook for a $2.4 million path extension project that will connect the community to the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
At a special meeting held on July 22, the district announced the project will be paid entirely with grants.
Tofino’s Multi-Use-Path is a roughly 6.5-kilometre paved biking and walking path that runs perpendicular, but separate to, the Pacific Rim Highway. The path currently ends at Tofino’s Cox Bay Visitor Centre, which has led to concerns regarding the 22-kilometre trail currently under construction through the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve that will end roughly 2.5 kilometres away.
“The 2.5 km ‘missing piece’ from where Tofino’s path currently ends near Cox Bay to the boundary of PRNPR where the new trail will start, means that cyclists and pedestrians will be required to make their way along a winding stretch of Highway 4 with a very narrow or non-existent shoulder resulting in safety challenges,” wrote Tofino’s manager of Public Spaces, Cultural and Visitor Initiatives April Froment in a report to council.
Unable to come up with the capital costs to close that gap, the district has been seeking out grants to pay for the MUP extension and successfully landed three that total more than the project is expected to cost.
Froment’s report suggests that a $1 million Bike BC funding application was approved as was a $2.2 million grant from the Federal Gas Tax Strategic Priorities Fund and the district also received $385,122 from the Island Coastal Economic Trust.
The district received more good news after putting out a request for proposals that saw companies bidding less than expected to complete the project. During their July 22 special council meeting, council unanimously agreed to award the construction contract to Bowerman Excavating, which offered the lowest price at $2,423,748. Construction begins this month and is expected to be complete by the summer of 2020.