Tofino needs roughly $2.2 million to connect it’s Multiple Use Path to the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and its council believes that money should come from the federal government, not local taxpayers.
The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is working on a roughly 22 kilometre path spanning its borders that will end roughly 2.5 kilometres away from the edge of Tofino’s Multiple Use Path at the Cox Bay Visitor Centre.
The district is rapidly searching for funds to extend its MUP to the Park’s path to avoid forcing cycling Park users onto the Pacific Rim Highway’s narrow shoulders and believes the connection will cost roughly $3.2 million.
Tofino inched towards that amount last month when a $1 million grant came in from the provincial government’s BikeBC program and district staffers are sniffing out other potential funding sources to fill the remaining gap.
“While the Federal announcement is cause for celebration on the west coast, Tofino has been presented with a real challenge,” wrote Tofino’s manager of Resort Municipality Initiative Services April Froment in a report submitted to council during March 28’s regular meeting.
“With competing infrastructure priorities and no prior indication of the Park’s trail project being on the horizon, the District has had little opportunity to plan for a $3.23 million capital investment.”
Coun. Dorothy Baert suggested funding help should come from the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District because roughly 1-kilometre of the 2.5-kilometre gap between the Park and Tofino is ACRD land.
Coun. Ray Thorogood agreed.
“I’m hoping they’ll kick in,” he said.
Mayor Josie Osborne responded that all granting options should be exhausted to find the remaining $2.2 million needed before local taxpayers are burdened.
“Remember, they is us,” she said.
“If we have the ACRD involved, we’re looking at, probably, property taxation dollars. I don’t want that if we can avoid it…I think our intention is to approach the federal government for all of that and then, if we don’t get all of that, we’ll see how we fill in the gap ourselves.”
Coun. Cathy Thicke noted recent tree removal within the Park raised local concerns and said Tofino should look to make as little impact as possible when extending its MUP.
“It’s quite devastating,” she said of the Park’s tree clearing.
“The view-scape is quite transformed in that section of the Park where they’re putting the trail through.”