Tofino will throw its weight behind a province-wide Communities on the Move campaign that’s calling on B.C.’s government to boost its funding towards active transportation and public transit.
During their regular meeting last week, Tofino’s municipal council agreed to join the campaign after reviewing a letter from Ally Fleck of the BC Healthy Living Alliance.
“The Communities on the Move declaration is intended to outline a vision for a healthy transportation system that meets the needs of all British Columbians,” Fleck wrote. “It lays out core values of safety, health, equity, environmental sustainability and economic opportunity that guide the vision and recommendations.”
The campaign’s recommendations include provincial investments in public transit and active transportation infrastructure as well as support towards rural transportation and enhanced accesses for vulnerable populations.
“The ultimate goal is to convince provincial decision‐makers to put in place the necessary funding and policy supports for a robust, active and public transportation system that serves all British Columbians,” she wrote.
“The declaration will shine a spotlight on the resources needed by communities to provide residents with more and healthier transportation options…Together, we can create communities that have convenient, healthy, and affordable transportation options for all.”
Council agreed to add Tofino’s name to the list after urging from Coun. Greg Blanchette.
“We are a very car-centric community and we’ve been trying to deal with the problems of cars, mainly parking, for a good, long time,” Blanchette said.
“There’s nothing wrong at all with us endorsing this and with us moving forward on it. We talk about Bike to Work Week and, I’ve said before at this table, we should have a Bike to Work Summer.”
Coun. Cathy Thicke questioned what Blanchette envisioned Tofino’s participation could look like.
“If we endorse it, what are we going to do,” she asked. “What concrete things do you think we could do in Tofino to enhance this idea.”
Blanchette noted the campaign’s aim is to get the provincial government going on providing funding for infrastructure, but added a variety of creative, low-cost, local initiatives could be explored like ride-sharing opportunities.
“[There’s] a lot of one-person cars going back and forth between Tofino and Ucluelet and a lot of people who want to make that trip,” he said.
Mayor Josie Osborne said the campaign was a good fit for Tofino.
“There’s a lot of things we’re already doing that are absolutely in line with this, by providing the seasonal shuttle and encouraging people to bike and walk to work as much as possible,” she said.
“I love the idea of Bike to Work Summer, Coun. Blanchette. I think that’s terrific.”
She added the district is working with the local chamber of commerce and Tourism Tofino on initiatives to get people active and added a Tonquin Trail extension to Middle Beach is nearing completion.
“I think there’s a lot of things we can do to celebrate the way we’re trying to get people out of their cars and moving,” she said.
Information on the campaign can be found at www.bchealthyliving.ca/movebc_declaration.