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Active transportation grants celebrated in Sooke & west shore

$24 million in provincial funding will support 80 active transportation infrastructure projects

trail, sooke
Trails are popular in Sooke. [District of Sooke]

Monday March 25, 2024 | SOOKE & COLWOOD/LANGFORD, BC

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Active transportation infrastructure funding is rolling out from the BC government.

Across BC, $24 million in provincial funding will support 80 active transportation infrastructure projects, including 59 projects to build safer transportation networks for people choosing active modes of transit.

dan coulter, ravi parmar
Minister of State for Infrastructure and Transit, Dan Coulter joined local MLA Ravi Parmar in Sooke to announce active transportation funding, March 25, 2024. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Additionally, 21 communities are receiving funding from the BC Active Transportation Infrastructure Grants Program to create network plans that can lay the groundwork for future active transportation projects.  

trail, sooke
Location of where the new trail will be in Sooke that will lead to Ecole Poirier Elementary, March 25, 2024. [Submitted]

The grants will make it easier and safer for people to choose active transportation to get to work, school, shopping, or other destinations in their communities. 

The Active Transportation Infrastructure Grants Program supports the Province’s CleanBC commitment to increase shares of trips by walking, cycling, rolling and transit. 

Accessible sidewalks, protected bike lanes and multi-use pathways have been included in the amenities that have been developed through the fund.

Minister of State for Infrastructure and Transit Dan Coulter today called it ‘cost-sharing’ to combine local experience of transportation challenges with provincial backing to offer better infrastructure solutions.

district of sooke

Coulter said today that the funds are part of “investing heavily in communities” across BC, allowing communities “to think bigger and allow people choices in their preferred method of transportation”.

“The goal is better, safer, more efficient active transportation networks in their communities,” said Coulter. In the past five years, 291 active transportation projects have been funded around the province, he said. The program has focused on delivering funds to Indigenous, local and regional governments so they can support their communities in increasing access to affordable safe transportation options.


Today in Sooke, local MLA Ravi Parmar hosted an active transportation announcement by Dan Coulter, Minister of State for Infrastructure and Transit. They were joined by Sooke Mayor Maja Tait and Jen Temple, the PAC President at Ecole Poirier Elementary School where the announcement was held outdoors in the rain.

dan coulter, ravi parmar, maja tait, jen temple
Local MLA Ravi Parmar hosted an active transportation announcement by Dan Coulter, Minister of State for Infrastructure and Transit. They were joined by Sooke Mayor Maja Tait and Jen Temple, PAC President at Ecole Poirier Elementary School in Sooke on March 25, 2024 [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Attending this funding announcement were District of Sooke councillors Jeff Bateman, Al Beddows, and Dana Lajeunesse, Sooke School District 62 (SD62) board chair Amanda Dowhy and SD62 Treasurer Harold Cull. A ground-breaking event will be held at some time ahead in 2024.

The multi-use trail specified for user-access to Ecole Poirier Elementary has been as much as 10 years in the making, as noted by Parmar (who was the SD62 chair for many years) in his remarks at the podium outdoors today. Today Coulter said that projects will move along more quickly now that provincial funding is behind the sorts of initiatives that school boards and other groups have been advocating for.

ecole poirier, sd62
Ecole Poirier Elementary School in Sooke. [March 24, 2025 / Island Social Trends]

In the context of a trend since the Michael Dunahee disappearance situation in 1991, that has seen parents across Greater Victoria prefer to drive students to school or send them by school bus — Coulter also said today that it’s time children and youth began walking, cycling and rolling more — not only for physical activity but also for independence to take movement under one’s own steam. He said that if students travel in groups during the day that safety should not be an issue.

The multi-use trail to Ecole Poirier Elementary is partially through a wooded area but will save a significant amount of travel time for to-and-from school.

maja tait, mayor, sooke
Sooke Mayor Maja Tait at multi-use trail provincial funding announcement at Ecole Poirier Elementary on March 25, 2024. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

The Little River Multi-Use Pathway will give Sooke over three-quarters of a kilometre in new trails to complete the Sunrun Trail Route between the town centre and the Sunriver neighbourhood. The sport box at Raven’s Ridge park will also be more accessible.

Mayor Tait said the new trail is a “significant milestone for our community”. With the provincial funding “we are reshaping the future of transportation and critical connections on active school routes here in Sooke,” said Tait who has been the mayor since 2014. She highlighted safety and accessibility for the community.

Tait also highlighted $500,000 provincial funding for the addition of Charters Road sidewalks and bike lanes. “This investment will facilitate safer and more efficient pedestrian movement and encourage sustainable modes of transportation reducing our carbon footprint and promoting a healthier lifestyle,” she said at the podium. Funds for the Little River multi-use trail “is a game changer”, she said.

It will provide “instrumental connections between neighbourhoods”.. whether for to/from school, getting to local retail or sports amenities and the Sunriver Allotment Gardens and down to the Sooke River. “This transforms an approximately eight kilometre round trip on the busy Highway 14 to a one kilometer round-trip walk, calling that “an immersive experience in nature” including flora, fauna and signage about the history of the natural forested area.

dumont tirecraft, wet roads

“Safety walking and rolling around town is one of the Sooke public’s top priorities, according to a recent survey done by the District of Sooke,” said Tait. Improved traffic flow and safe passage for pedestrians are among the objectives, said Tait. She spoke of “striving for progress and prosperity in Sooke, for today and the generations to come”.

Tait noted acknowledged the attendance of media today, and acknowledged the T-Sou-ke land base.

sd62, tait, cull, bateman
Chatting about the new active transportation funding outside Ecole Poirier Elementary in Sooke on March 25, 2024 were SD62 Chair Amanda Dowhy, Sooke Mayor Maja Tait, SD62 Secretary-Treasurer Harold Cull and District of Sooke Councillor Jeff Bateman. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]


In the west shore, local MLA Mitzi Dean notes that the communities of Colwood will see improvement at the Wale Road/Wilfert Road intersection to include a multi-use pathway ($208,078 grant). The District of Metchosin will now be able to develop of an Active Transportation Network Plan ($37,500 grant).

wale road, wilfert road, colwood, map
Active transportation will be improved at the intersection of Wale Road and Wilfert Road in Colwood. [Google map]
mitzi dean, mla, constituency, ad

“I know people living in our communities want to travel in a cleaner way that allows them to see more of their neighbourhoods,” said Mitzi Dean, MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin. “The active transportation infrastructure that we are helping fund in Colwood and Metchosin, building multi-use pathways, improving pedestrian crossings, and planning for environmentally friendly transportation options will empower communities to choose safer, more sustainable ways to get around.”

In Langford, Parmar says the Bellamy Road multi-use pathway trail extension of the Phelps Connector trail from Thetis Lake to Bellamy Lake is being supported with provincial funding. He also noted safety improvements to intersections such as Veterans Memorial Parkway and Goldstream Avenue in Langford town centre.

district of metchosin

Program criteria:

Criteria of the BC Active Transportation Infrastructure Grants Program include:

  • Projects previously funded prior to 2023/24, or prior to 2022/23 for projects with budgets over $1M, must be completed by application submission date.
  • Project is part of an active transportation network plan or equivalent
  • Project can begin construction once provincial funding has been announced
  • Projects will be completed by March 2026 (projects under $1 million) or by March 2027 (projects over $1 million)
  • Projects are open to the public
ist main, bc rent bank
Island Social Trends reports news with socioeconomic insights and analysis. Independent news service on south Vancouver Island, BC. Read free online or get the biweekly PDF by email.

===== RELATED:

District of Sooke Parks & Trails Master Plan [PDF / District of Sooke]

alistair macgregor, langford


headshot, mary p brooke
Mary P Brooke, Editor & Publisher of Island Social Trends.

Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke has been covering news of Sooke since 2008. She lived in Sooke during 2007 to 2017 during which time she covered Sooke news on a daily and weekly basis; since 2017 she has operated her publishing enterprise based out of Langford.

Mary Brooke’s series of print publications is archived at the Sooke Region Museum: MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), and West Shore Voice News (2014-2020).

During 2014 to 2024 Ms Brooke has also followed in-depth news of the Sooke School District (SD62).

Ms Brooke has been reporting with the BC Legislative Press Gallery since covering the daily COVID news during 2020-2022. In 2023, she was nominated for a Jack Webster Foundation journalism award for contributing to her community through professional journalism.

Island Social Trends covers news through a socioeconomic lens, posted at IslandSocialTrends.ca. The biweekly print edition of Island Social Trends launched in 2024. | Subscribe to the Premium PDF of the print edition.