The Courtenay Rotary Club has partnered with the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF) and the City of Courtenay to construct the Rails to Trails, known as the Rotary Trail, along the E&N rail corridor, which runs past the train station.
The club believes the path provides the safest north-south route for cyclists and pedestrians. As such, it has asked Courtenay council to consider paving the gravel trail, which the club says would be cheaper than installing bike lanes on busy streets.
Rotary is also requesting dedicated bike lanes up 29th, 26th, 17th and other streets to have cycling connecting certain east-west streets to a new and enhanced trail.
The club believes the pathway will be the starting point of the north end of a trail connecting communities along the Island rail corridor from Courtenay to Victoria.
“That would just be the dream,” Coun. Rebecca Lennox said. “I think that it would be so good for our economy.”
Mayor Larry Jangula, a member of the ICF board, notes the dream is to offer hop-on, hop-off service with the biking community.
He lauds the club’s recommendations, noting the trail is hard in some areas and soft in others, which makes it difficult for young riders and those pushing strollers.
“If we’re going to put money into bike infrastructure, why wouldn’t we pave sections of this or pave it all eventually, and make it better, easier and safer for everyone to get around?” Jangula said. “I think it makes so much sense. We’re so lucky that Rotary has supplied us all of the infrastructure that we already have on these trails.”
CAO David Allen says council can include the paving request in budget discussions.
“Council has made it clear that a bike network plan as part of a transportation network plan are two very important aspects of moving forward in delivering effective transportation networks,” Allen said.
Courtenay Rotary is in the process of upgrading the train station, which it hopes will become a centrepiece along the trail.