The Town of Qualicum Beach will receive $505,841 for safety improvements on the town’s east-west multi use path that is largely used by children as a route to and from school.
The funding from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) will make it easier for residents and visitors to get around by foot and bike, said Town of Qualicum Beach director of planning Luke Sales.
“The town has a pathway that runs all the way east and west of the town and we call it the school connector route,” Sales said. “On the West side of town is Qualicum Beach Elementary and on the East side of town is Arrowview Elementary, so that whole section in the middle pretty much runs the length of town and one of our top priorities is to make that a continuous route right through town.”
Sales said there are “three pinch points” that the town identified as priority areas of the path that need improvements. One area is at a “relatively hazardous intersection” on the West side of town that students often walk across heading to the elementary school. Another area is near the town’s centre where there is a missing piece of the path by Beach Road, which will be connected. The third area is further east on Berwick Road where a pedestrian crossing will be put in to lead people into the East Village.
“It’s actually three different projects, we bundled them all together because they’re all segments in the same trail,” Sales said. “It’s basically filling in missing links.”
Sales said without the MoTI funding, the project would have taken years to complete, or never happened at all.
“For a town like ours with a limited budget, having an influx of a half-million dollars to help fill in these missing pieces really makes all the difference,” Sales said. “I think it’s fair to say these improvements really wouldn’t be happening if it wasn’t for the grant funding, maybe eventually but it would be years before we could take on a project like this.”
Construction should start later this year and Sales said hopefully the work will be substantially complete within a year.