Expanded pathways, new maps and initiatives were all topics of discussion at the Island Pathways annual general meeting held on Sunday afternoon.
The group announced the merging of two existing Island Pathways entities — the Bicycle Working Group and Helmets for Life program — with the Salt Spring Island Bike Club, which spearheaded the Mouat Park bike park, to create the new Cycling Salt Spring Island committee.
Sean Mulligan, one of the bike club’s founders, explained that the club was created to help work on what Salt Spring Island was lacking for cycling.
Merging with Island Pathways gives the bike club more reach and more resources to help build cycling on the island.
“This is the perfect time for us to be joining in,” Mulligan said at the meeting. “We do have a lot of shared goals and initiatives. It is going to be great to have a much bigger team made up of cycling enthusiasts working on this. And we do need to get new people on who want to tackle some of these fun activities.”
Initiatives include the development of more cycling-specific infrastructure, and building people’s skills and confidence to be able to ride comfortably on the roads.
“It is possible to ride on Salt Spring, if you have the right education around bike skills and navigating traffic. it is possible to feel comfortable. It just takes time,” Mulligan said. “If it can be done in a social setting, it really lightens the load and makes it a lot more fun.”
Another major update from the meeting includes the announcement that last year’s Partners Creating Pathways trail building project from Booth Canal Road to Baker Road was delayed because of an additional bit of funding that was unexpected. PCP chair Jean Gelwicks explained that previous CRD director Wayne McIntyre gave an extra $200,000 to the project to complete the trail to Central. With that addition, the project had to go back to the design phase to incorporate the new section. The entire project is expected to be complete this year.
One of the group’s major goals has been to finish the Salish Sea Trail Network that connects the Galloping Goose Regional Trail, the Lochside Trail and sections of the Great Trail to build a regional loop in the CRD. The project will necessitate upgrades to Fulford-Ganges Road, including repaving and widening the shoulder.
For more on this story, see the Feb. 27, 2019 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.