Port McNeill councillor Derek Koel was thinking outside the box when he came up with an innovative way to help promote the town’s active transportation plan.
Koel used the popular app Tik Tok to make a rap video and then shared it on his social media pages, generating hundreds of hits so far.
“I’ve been posting Tik Tok videos since covid started in March,” he said when asked to comment on the video. “I love it, I’ve been doing two or three videos a day and I really love the platform, it was also a really good way to connect with my daughter, she’s into it, and now I’ve got more subscribers than her,” he laughed.
Active transportation is a personal matter for Koel, who said he’s always been a bicycle commuter. “Active transportation is basically anything but cars… and it’s not just bike paths, it’s about creating non-vehicle paths and connections in a community to encourage people that they don’t have to always drive.”
When he noticed a grant for active transportation planning come up, he brought it forward to his council and they were all on board to apply.
After being approved for the funds, the Town of Port McNeill received $25,000 for planning, and they matched it with $25,000 from the town’s general revenue fund.
“What we’ve done as a small town is invest quite a bit in this plan, but what is going to come out of it is about a half dozen or so shovel ready projects,” Koel noted, adding that they are now going to have “engineer drawings, we’re going to have estimates, and this will all come together before our official community plan is finished, meaning we’ll be ready for the next round of grant funding after that. Step one to getting these grants is to have a plan in place.”
One project Koel hopes to see happen from all of this is to continue the town’s rotary trail all the way into the downtown area by Shoprite Marine.
As for whether Koel will continue using social media to promote town business, he said that he will continue pushing “for all of us to really double down on social media… If it brings more attention to the town and it’s fun and it gets people interested, it’s worth it.”
Nov. 30 is the deadline for residents to give their input on the active transportation plan map, and Koel confirmed there will be more opportunities in the future for residents to comment on the plans.