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Fruitvale, Trail, RDKB to improve connectivity away from cars

Fruitvale, Trail and the Kootenay Boundary regional district (RDKB) will be forging new pathways and better connectivity in the coming years with financial backing from the province.
The RDKB applied for an active transportation planning grant to invest in the Lower Columbia Rolling Green Ribbon. Image: RDKB

Fruitvale, Trail and the Kootenay Boundary regional district (RDKB) will be forging new pathways and better connectivity in the coming years with financial backing from the province.

All three local governments received funding through B.C.’s Active Transportation Network Planning program, which is aimed at building infrastructure to safely connect neighbourhoods to parks, schools and town centres.

Fruitvale received $25,000 to develop a network plan throughout the village which aligns with its Official Community Plan and council’s strategic vision for safety, accessibility and healthy living.

The plan will connect all areas of the village to the town’s center commercial zone, recreational facilities, parks and greenspaces as well as the RDKB’s Green Link Trail System, providing access to employers, schools, the hospital and other facilities located in neighboring communities.

Meanwhile, the City of Trail received $41,125 for the development of an active transportation plan. Council has allocated funding in the 2021 capital plan to match this amount for a total project expenditure of $82,250.

The city’s plan is slated for completion and approval by March 2023.

“The Active Transportation Network Plan will provide strategic direction to the community’s goal of prioritizing healthy living with accessible walking, cycling and other active transportation networks for residents and visitors of all ages and abilities,” said Mayor Lisa Pasin. “By improving connectivity between business districts, key destinations, and between neighbourhoods, commuters will be able to rely less on motor vehicles while feeling safer using designated routes built specifically for pedestrians, bikes and micro-mobility transportation.”

Data sources, reports, key stakeholders and public engagement are planned avenues to establish the current mode of transportation share, existing routes and volumes, and origin-destinations.

“The 2013 Parks and Recreation Master Plan, the 2001 Official Community Plan and the draft of the 2020 Official Community Plan identify the need for improvement for active transportation,” said Pasin. “The grant funding from the province helps tremendously and we can now surge ahead with a plan.”

The RDKB applied for $50,000 to invest in what’s called the Lower Columbia Rolling Green Ribbon. The idea is for the regional district to contribute another $50,000 for a total estimated project value of $100,000. The RDKB is part of a working group called the South Kootenay Green Link and Active Transportation Working Group, which includes members from each of electoral areas and municipalities involved in this initiative, in addition to environmental, economic sector members and other stakeholders.

While specifics are yet to be confirmed, the plan is to link the downtown cores of the five municipalities — Rossland, Warfield, Trail, Montrose, Fruitvale — as well as electoral areas A and B, to the regional hospital in Trail, Teck Trail, local schools and other important amenities.

It will also consider how this portion of the Lower Columbia region can be linked to other communities outside the study area.

While the main intent of the plan is for wheeled active transportation, this will depend on insight that will be compiled from upcoming public and stakeholder engagements.

As the project moves forward, the RDKB plans to engage with community members, key information-holders, business, industry, cycling groups, economic development organizations, Ministry of Transportation, RCMP, the school district and others through various means throughout the process.

This project is another step the RDKB is taking to meet its strategic priorities to address environmental stewardship and climate preparedness, respond to demographic and social change, and provide cost-effective services to residents.

Read more: Rossland forges ahead with Green Link Trail

Read more: Rossland secures grant for Wagon Road upgrade

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Sheri Regnier

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