Fears that future bicyclists traveling along a path being built through the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve would find themselves stuck on a narrow highway, with no bike lane, roughly two kilometres away from Tofino were erased Friday morning.
Tofino mayor Josie Osborne was elated as she stood at a podium set up at Tofino’s Cox Bay Visitors Centre, where the community’s Multi-Use-Path currently ends, and announced $2.3 million is coming from Canada’s Federal Gas Tax Fund to connect the MUP to the Park Reserve’s incoming ʔapsčiik t’ašii—pronounced ‘Ups-cheek ta-shee’—path 2.2 kilometres away.
“This is a really exciting development and a dream that’s really come true for Tofino and Ucluelet and all the communities on the West Coast to be able to connect our communities,” she said.
She said Tofino’s 2.2-kilometre Multi-Use-Path connection carries an estimated $3.3 million price-tag and, along with the federal funding, $1 million is coming from the provincial government’s Bike B.C. Program, $63,000 from the B.C. Resort Municipality Initiative and $54,000 from the Union of B.C. Municipalities Community Works Fund.
Ucluelet councillor Sally Mole attended the announcement event as her community’s acting mayor and said Ucluelet is excited to see a regional path network coming together.
“This incredible amount of funding is a huge boon,” she said. “I’m really excited to see this project start and finish and be able to connect our communities. It’s just great.”
The Park Reserve’s $18 million, 25-kilometre, ʔapsčiik t’ašii trail, which will connect it’s north and south borders, was announced in 2016 and has been under construction since February, 2017.
The Park Reserve’s Superintendent Karen Haugen congratulated Tofino for securing funding to create safe passage between the Park Reserve and the community.
“Investments in visitor infrastructure, such as trails, will continue to allow Canadians to connect with nature and bring year round opportunities and economic benefits for this whole region,” she said. “Once built, this new trail network will give generations of residents, Canadians and visitors the opportunity to explore this wonderful, wonderful, Pacific Rim region by bike, by foot; by any transportation.”