Active transportation advocates continue to pressure the city to make Williams Lake safer for cycling and walking.
Streets for All Williams Lake spokespersons Ruth Lloyd and Paul Smith told city council during a presentation in December that Williams Lake has the potential to be a leader in active transportation.
On behalf of Streets for All Williams Lake and GoByBike Williams Lake, they asked council to reboot the city’s active transportation committee, asked to have input on the committee and suggested the city invite the Cariboo Regional District to have representation on the committee.
“We want to support the city and region in working toward safer streets for all citizens,” Lloyd said, adding it’s about growing the local economy, economic diversity, tourism opportunities and sustainability.
Smith said they recognize there are a lot of pressures on the city’s budget, but study after study have shown the benefits of active transportation on property values, public health, local businesses, social cohesion, overall quality of life and the environment.
“Accessible infrastructure is far less expensive to maintain than arenas or pools and contributes to meeting climate change goals,” he added.
Smith also encouraged the city to apply for grants, citing a recent announcement from the city of Lethbridge of $3 million in federal funds for active transportation.
“The question is not how can we afford this but how can we afford to wait any longer?”
Council passed a motion to receive the report and directed staff to develop a committee to advise council on active transportation matters.
In a letter provided to council, GoByBike Weeks coordinator Erin Hitchcock noted during GoByBike Weeks, Oct. 3 to 16, 2022, the two groups coordinated many activities in Williams Lake that attracted 122 participants, who clocked 4,729 km and prevented 1,000 kg in greenhouse gas emissions from entering the airshed.
Hitchcock also listed a large group of local businesses that supported the events.
Since making the presentation, Streets for All successfully secured a grant of $5,000 from the Williams Lake Community Forest to install compartments for bike lockers.
Denise Deschene, a member of both groups, has also been invited to give a presentation on E-Bikes for Elder College in Williams Lake this spring.