Langford seeks provincial cash to expand award-winning trail network

Happy trails ahead?

The City of Langford is looking to add to its award-winning trail system, providing the provincial government paves the way.

Langford is applying for four grants under the provincial government’s LocalMotion program to cover $282,500 of the costs for the work, budgeted at $319,700.

A trail connecting Phelps Avenue to Bellamy Road running parallel to the Trans-Canada Highway, and hooking up to the existing trail that runs from Phelps to Thetis Lake Park at a cost of $139,900, is the largest item on the wish list.

Other projects include recreation access and a pier at Glen Lake budgeted at $29,000, a boardwalk trail at Florence Lake at a cost of $87,000, and a loop trail around Centennial Park for $63,000.

Langford council approved a staff report recommending the application at the Feb. 5 council meeting because it’s a good way to leverage money for improvements to the city’s trail network, said Coun. Denise Blackwell, chair of Langford’s parks and recreation committee.

“You get more trails for your dollars,” Blackwell said, adding that Langford had similar success in the past with a grant from the Provincial Capital Commission.

“Anytime there’s a grant available for traills, we always put it in,” she said. “Getting sidewalks and safe routes to schools is really important to us.”

The four items covered under the grant make up part of Langford’s ongoing trail master plan, she noted. If the grant is not accepted, those items could possibly be included in a referendum in the next municipal election in 2008, Blackwell said.

LocalMotion grants aim to improve fitness, enhance safety, reduce pollutants and meet the diverse needs of British Columbians, including seniors, families, and people with disabilities.

The Greenway category for LocalMotion grants is for the creation of multi-use activities such as walking, cycling and other recreational activities within the city’s green spaces.

Local governments can apply for the grants based on a cost-sharing agreement, with the province kicking in up to $1 million a year.

A total of $40 million is available throughout the province over four years. A decision on the applications is expected to be made this spring.

Langford earned the top prize from the Canadian Institute of Planners in 2000 for its own trails master plan.

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