An off-highway route for cyclists and pedestrians stretching from ferry to ferry is one step closer to realization with the approval $57,500 in grant funding for the planning of the Suncoaster Trail Phase 2.
At the Planning and Community Development Committee meeting on September 14, Sunshine Coast Regional District directors gave the go-ahead to staff to proceed with planning the 60-kilometre section of trail from Halfmoon Bay to Langdale. Phase 1, which stretches 37 kilometres from Earls Cove to Homesite Creek, was finished in 2010.
Reporting to the committee, Ian Hall, General Manager of Planning and Community Development, said that SCRD staff, working in conjunction with District of Sechelt staff, had identified a variety of possible routes, including high elevation and lower elevation options, which they took out for public consultation.
“Through a series of conversations earlier this year with communities and stakeholder groups, the concept that was presented in this report of a lower altitude connecting trail seemed to emerge as a preference,” said Hall.
The staff report notes that the lower elevation route focuses on “connectivity and safety, including trails within and between neighborhoods, to schools, and bike paths along roads.”
Gibsons director Jeremy Valeriote described the trail as a “welcome initiative.”
“This is a really welcome kick-start to some of the trails that are in our OCP [official community plan] but are not necessarily implemented across upper Gibsons,” said Valeriote. “I think we need to get going on this.”
Pender Harbour Director Frank Mauro commented: “The Suncoaster Trail from Egmont through to Halfmoon Bay is well used, especially certain portions that are near populated centres.”
The $57,500 Active Communities Grant can be used for planning and signage. The money must be spent by October 31, 2018. SCRD staff will investigate future funding and grant opportunities to pay for construction of the trail.