Honourable Christy Clark
Province of British Columbia
Dear Premier Clark,
Re: Climate Leadership Plan – Cycling and Walking for Everyone
In December of 2015 the BC Cycling Coalition and its member organizations send a letter to your office regarding the Climate Leadership Plan. We had high hopes as the Climate Leadership Team’s recommendations included highlighting the short-term importance of cycling and walking in reducing GHG emissions and included the possibility of Carbon Tax funding for cycling and walking improvements.
Currently your government staff is working on a Transportation Vision that would accompany the Climate Leadership Plan. In developing that Transportation Vision, we are encouraging the Province to adopt a High Shift Cycling Scenario that reflects progress on the ground and takes into account the potential of electric bicycles, cycling highways, and a rail trail or bike route from Victoria north. We certainly are looking for an Active Transportation strategy and a better funding formula for communities regarding the building of active transportation infrastructure.
If the climate impact of shifting our modal share in transportation is not enticing enough we would ask, humbly, to look at the BC Provincial Health Services Authority report from July 2015 on the Economic Benefits of risk factor reduction in BC. In the report the BC authority found that reducing the health issues of excess weight and inactivity by 10% would save the BC Government $7 to $8 billion dollars in direct and indirect costs.
The Nanaimo Cycling Coalition, its members, its fellow coalitions, in fact all citizens on Vancouver Island are astonished that since these and other reports and recommendations were made, that so little progress has been made in providing people with affordable transportation choices. Even in the BC Government budget presented last month there are no new initiatives to encourage people to be more active, no new funding formula to get more infrastructure for walking or cycling built in our communities.
The funding for cycling and walking could come from a variety of sources including an increase in the Carbon Tax, predicted budget surpluses and a reallocation of the transportation budget. In this day and age it is important to be creative and to make the right choices for all of the residents in British Columbia. Our health and welfare depends on making the right decisions at the top level.
Our basic recommendation is an Active Transportation Strategy that includes:
- investing $100 million per year in to upgrade cycling & walking facilities on provincial roads and bridges, complete cycling networks in communities across the province within 10 years, provide safe routes to school for children and build trails for cycling & walking tourists.
- updating standards and policies to encourage high quality cycling and walking facilities on new and upgraded roads and bridges
- implementing strong policies that encourage high quality cycling and walking facilities in new developments
- cycling skills training for children
- cycling education for adults
- marketing programs such as Bike to Work Week, Bike/Walk to School
- improvements to the Motor Vehicle Act
The GNCC supports a collaborative approach to helping our fellow citizens to have healthy, happy and productive lives. We are looking forward to a meaningful dialogue with your representatives.
Chair Greater Nanaimo Cycling Coalition