Numerous partners celebrated Tuesday to mark the completion of the first two phases of a cycling and pedestrian trail that will provide a vital link for a number of communities within the Capital Regional District.
Saanich Coun. Colin Plant, chair of the CRD board, acknowledged that the completion of Phases 1 and 2 of the E&N Rail Trail-Humpback Connector was a collaborative effort. “The CRD received $20 million in grants toward the development of this increasingly popular bike and pedestrian trail,” Plant said in a media advisory. “We sincerely recognize and appreciate the generous support of our many funders and partnerships, who are instrumental to our progress.”
Francois-Philippe Champagne, federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, said investing in infrastructure is key to the development of people’s well-being, community vitality and economic growth. “We are proud to support projects like this one in Victoria encouraging active transportation among residents while promoting the development of tourism. The E&N Trail will allow people to stay active and help build vibrant healthy communities for years to come.”
Metchosin-Esquimalt MLA Mitzi Dean, speaking on behalf of Claire Trevena, B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, said the E&N Trail-Humpback Connector is a wonderful multi-use pathway that connects communities and neighbourhoods to the places where people work, play and learn.
“Our government is pleased to be a funding partner to help build this pathway,” Dean said. “We will continue to work with regional, local and Indigenous governments to build safe active transportation infrastructure to give people of all ages and abilities more choices to get around in healthy, environmentally friendly and affordable ways.”
The federal government has provided $16 million in funding for programs of this nature through the Administrator of the Federal Gas Tax Fund for the Union of British Columbia Municipalities. The BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure provided $2.7 million, plus an additional $1 million for Phase 3 through the Bike BC Cycling Infrastructure Program. BC Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing provided $275,000 under the LocalMotion Program. Others in attendance included members from the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations, whose communities and traditional territories the trail runs through. The City of Langford, the Town of View Royal, the Township of Esquimalt and the City of Victoria are municipal partners in the trail development.
The E&N Rail Trail-Humpback Connector is being constructed over several years through a number of phases, with most of within the rail corridor. It will be 17 kilometres when completed and will link Langford, View Royal, the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations, Esquimalt and Victoria. Twelve kilometres have been completed and are open for public use, expanding the CRD’s regional trail network to almost 100 kilometres. The trail had about 400,000 visits in 2018.
Island Corridor Foundation allowed the regional trail to be constructed the railway corridor.