News » Whistler

Cycling coalition asks province to invest $75M per year

Money would be spent on roads, trails, connectors and marketing B.C. as a world-class cycling destination



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Campbell said that he's made the case for more funding for mountain biking to the current government, and has received some support from the NDP tourism critic. However, he will likely have to wait until after the provincial election on May 14 before actively promoting the BCCC proposal.

"This is something that needs to be coordinated across several ministries and needs its own place in Destination B.C.," said Campbell. "The reality is that we have cycling initiatives going on all over the province where communities have seen the value in it, but what would be really neat is coordination at the provincial level. We already have all these great trails and experiences, and I really do believe we could be the top cycling destination in the world."

Steamboat Springs bets on biking

While Whistler already enjoys a global reputation for mountain biking, there are communities that are actively investing in trails and infrastructure with the goal of taking over as the top resort in North America for fat-tire recreation.

The Steamboat Springs Trail Alliance has put forward a plan that would divert roughly 90 per cent of hotel tax revenues from the resort — roughly $600,000 each year for 10 years — to trail development.

They've already mapped out a network with 30 mountain bike trails, plus additional "core trails" similar to our Valley Trail network. Overall there are 46 trail projects on the list.

Steamboat Springs City Council will vote on whether to endorse the plan in May, and in November's municipal election the people will be asked to approve.

Meanwhile Whistler is advancing its own plans, albeit on a smaller scale than those proposed by Steamboat Springs.

The Whistler trail budget includes over $1.5 million over the next five years (2013 to 2017) to upgrade existing trails and build new routes. As well, trail development and upgrades are ongoing in areas like Lost Lake, while Whistler's portion of the Sea to Sky Trail/Trans Canada Trail was completed at the end of last year.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler created a Trails Planning Working Group last year that includes various stakeholders, including the Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association (WORCA), a hiking advocacy group represented by the Whistler section of the Alpine Club of Canada, Cheakamus Community Forest and Recreation Sites and Trails B.C.

The working group's major projects include $1.25 million from 2013 to 2017 for an Alpine Trail Program, which includes improvements to existing trails and the construction of new hiking and mountain bike trails extending into the alpine. The Recreation Trails Program has a budget of $50,000 per year for the next five years, which will be spent rebuilding or rerouting existing trails and improving the trail experience. As well, $45,000 has been budgeted to create a Universal Access Trail, a trail loop close to the village.