The District of Central Saanich Council has endorsed a grant application for provincial government funding for active transportation improvements in four major school zones in Central Saanich.
On December 1, 2020, the Province announced it is accepting applications from local governments for nearly $136 million in infrastructure grants to help communities develop resilience in response to COVID-19 as part of the new COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream (CVRIS).
The District is seeking funding for improvements near the four schools in Central Saanich: Keating Elementary, Brentwood Elementary, Bayside Middle School and Stelly's Secondary School. The proposed work includes improving or adding crosswalks, enhancing safety and accessibility, and connecting walking and cycling networks near the schools. The projects are consistent with active transportation studies undertaken by the School District and with the CVRIS program goals, including supporting development of active transportation networks.
The improvements are identified as priorities in the District’s draft Active Transportation Plan, which will be released for public comment later this month. “Through the Active Transportation Plan process, the community has expressed connectivity as a priority, especially near locations of high pedestrian and cycling areas such as our schools,” says Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor. “The Plan guides the District’s work on grant applications to increase active transportation infrastructure to improve community safety, support walking, cycling, and transit use.”
If successful, the grant will provide up to 100 per cent of eligible costs for the improvements, estimated at $1,150,000. Details of the scope of work recommended for the schools will be found in the draft Active Transportation Plan, when it is available to view in late February at LetsTalkCentralSaanich.ca/ActiveTransportation. If the District is unsuccessful with this grant application, staff will include the proposed upgrades as part of the active transportation, asset management, and long-term financial planning update to start later this year.
The District also recently applied for a grant to fund a multi-use pathway on Benvenuto between Wallace Drive and Butchart Gardens. The application was made to the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program (CERIP), a one-time, 100% funded provincial grant developed to support post-pandemic economic recovery in B.C. communities.