Wheels turn for dedicated Vancouver Island cycle route

Coalition seeks support for tourist-friendly bike path from Mill Bay to Comox, showcasing seasides, countrysides and urban oases

Trish Kostian

Trish Kostian

In La Belle Province, it is known as La Route Verte — the Greenway.

It’s a sprawling 5,300-kilometre collection of designated roads, cycle paths and bike lanes that the National Post called a “cultural, historic, environmental, and artistic tribute to Quebec,” and National Geographic proclaimed the world’s best cycle route.

It is also an economic generator, pumping an estimated $95.4 million into the Quebec economy annually, while attracting cycle tourists from around the globe to stay in local inns, eat local food and sightsee at local attractions.

It’s a success story some Vancouver Island cyclists want to see repeated here.

Members of the Greater Nanaimo Cycling Coalition and the Comox Valley Cycling Coalition have spent months mapping a cycle route from Mill Bay to Comox. It is now their goal to lobby provincial and local government to adopt the project and provide the seed money to turn dream into reality.

Backed by the B.C. Cycling Coalition, the group’s mission statement spells out its goals clearly: “The Inside Passage Bike Route will enable cycling tourists to safely and conveniently access hotels, stores, bakeries, pubs, restaurants, farms, wineries and tourist attractions thereby greatly enhancing their vacation experience and benefiting local businesses, the economy and increasing tax revenue for the provincial and federal governments.”

“Most of it is ready to roll,” Greater Nanaimo Cycling Coalition chairman Leo Boon said.

According to Boon, the route — which is designed to keep riders away from the highway and near the Island’s more picturesque seashores and fields — needs very little infrastructure work. Signage, some safety work at certain awkward intersections and corners, and a bit more attention to regular street-sweeping is about it.

“If we were talking 50 kilometres (of upgrades), I’d say we have a big problem, but most of it can be easily done,” he said. “There is no budget set. We are at that point in the project.”

The proposed route wends its way from the Mill Bay ferry terminal, along the bucolic backroads of Cowichan, Crofton and Chemainus. After a brief skip onto the highway at Ladysmith, it then meanders through pastoral Cedar and urban Nanaimo, before following the oceanside vistas of the old Island Highway from Parksville to Comox, then finally concluding at the Powell River ferry terminal.

Boon foresees connections to cycle routes on the Sunshine Coast and the Saanich Peninsula as part of a greater “B.C. Greenway” that will allow users to experience Georgia Strait from both sides and link with cycle paths in Greater Victoria, the Lower Mainland and beyond.

The coalition’s next step is a push to market the idea to Vancouver Island communities. With their support, Boon hopes to tap into funding available through economic development and cycling infrastructure grants in order to make the necessary route improvements.

The final step will be the marketing of the route through dedicated maps and various tourism information outlets.

More information is available here.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sidney Jon Blair said he would have died if a van and car had collided at the intersection of corner of Resthaven Drive and Brethour Avenue in early December. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney senior urges motorists to slow down on Resthaven Drive

Jon Blair said community must become more pedestrian-friendly

Tarpaulin-covered tents sit next to one of the ponds in Beacon Hill Park. The location of the Meegan community care tent has still not been nailed down, as Victoria council rejected the recommendation offered by city staff. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Location of care tent for Victoria’s Beacon Hill campers still not settled

Council roundly rejects Avalon Road site, road’s edge on Cook Street appears the top alternative

Bob Joseph, author of 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act, will be available for a Q&A through the Vancouver Island Regional Library Jan. 28. (Courtesy of Vancouver Island Regional Library)
Q&A on the Indian Act with Bob Joseph open to Greater Victoria residents

Bob Joseph is the author of 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act

Coaches with the Juan de Fuca Minor Hockey association have had to get creative during their weekly practices to keep players interested and improving their skills without physical contact. (Damian Kowalewich photo)
West Shore minor hockey coach shares what it’s like on the ice without parents, fans

Most practices consist of relay races, goalie shots and passing drills

The Songhees Wellness Centre is a symbol of First Nations strength in the region. Representatives of local First Nations will soon play a greater role in decision making and governance relating to the Capital Regional District. (Courtesy Royal Roads University)
Capital Regional District to add First Nations representatives to advisory committees

Board approves bylaw, looks forward to Indigenous input on future decisions

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy, Everett Bumstead.
The tree-planting life on Vancouver Island featured in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)

Most Read