Tofino driving for change in transportation methods

District receives $120,000 grant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Tofino hopes to coax its residents and tourists out of private vehicles and into alternative modes of transportation, but first needs to create more attractive alternatives for people to shift into.

The district received $120,000 from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Climate Innovation Program last week to create a Multi-Modal Transportation Plan that will shape a 10-20 year strategic vision aimed to decrease the number of commuters using private vehicles, according to an announcement made by Tofino on Thursday. The release suggests the plan will be particularly important during the summer months and will include possible transit expansions as well as promote a shift towards active transportation.

“The District hopes that by investing in the development of a Multi-Modal Transportation Plan at the same time as a major rewrite of the Official Community Plan, land-use and transportation systems can be more efficiently aligned allowing the District to make significant headway in reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Tofino’s manager of community sustainability Aaron Rodgers said through the announcement. “The MMTP is expected to be transformative and push the boundaries in terms of what a small community can accomplish in terms of active transportation.”

Rodgers told the Westerly News that while the funding will not directly create any infrastructure, the plan it produces will “influence future spending” and help the district shape potential infrastructure projects.

“The development of the plan won’t build us anything, but it will give us some direction over the next 20 years about how to shift, where we can, people from vehicles to other modes of transportation,” he said. “It is not just about, ‘Hey, where do we want to put sidewalks? Or, ‘Hey, where do we want to extend the Multi-Use Path?’ It’s about how do we make decisions now, on a broad community level.”

He added that having a clear strategy and specific projects identified will help the district be successful in future grant applications.

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