The Government of Canada announced a federal investment of more than $1.7 million to support three Indigenous-led active transportation projects in northern British Columbia.

The Nisga’a Village of Gitlaxt’aamix is receiving funding for the construction of a new sidewalk on Tait Avenue, which will extend nearly 1 kilometer through the community’s southern residential area and provide a safe connection for residents to access the community health centre, church, and recreation centre. Crosswalks, benches and signage will also be installed. The drainage and stormwater management system will be built to be resilient to climate change.

“The Tait Avenue sidewalk project includes an 850m sidewalk that will provide safe access to community, recreation, and health amenities for the surrounding residential area and greater community. The project is planned for Gitlaxt’aamiks, an Indigenous community within the self-governing Nisga’a Nation in Northern BC,” said Project Delivery Team, Nisga’a Village of Gitlaxt’aamiks

“As we look to the future, it’s vitally important that we keep making investments in our public infrastructure here in northern British Columbia. The active transportation projects announced today will make it easier and safer for community members to keep active and will make our communities better places to live, work and play,” said Harjit Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada.

Funding will also support the construction of the Witset Canyon Connection project, a multi-use pathway along Highway 16 in Wiset First Nation. This project will enable the creation of a separate pedestrian pathway, ensuring all members of the community have a safe place to walk and bike, and improving access to cultural activities and traditional fishing.

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“Witset First Nation is thankful for the Government of Canada’s support in building a safe and accessible pathway to our canyon. This will keep pedestrians of all ages and mobility types off this busy stretch of highway. We are excited for our first accessible trail that will also increase the physical activity and overall health for our community,” said Chief Barry Nikal, Chief of Witset First Nation.

Lake Babine Nation is also receiving funding to build a pathway with solar-powered lighting connecting Sus Avenue to William Konkin Elementary School in the Village of Burns Lake. These upgrades will significantly reduce the walking time for students to get to school and will make it easier and more convenient for residents to choose active transportation for their daily commutes.

“We have always had a great working relationship with the Village of Burns Lake and this is exciting for us to once again have an opportunity to receive a grant from the wonderful people from the Active Transportation Fund. We are a growing community and one that is making positive improvements in our communities and these projects help us with our goals. Much thanks to all involved in making this happen from my colleagues in Lake Babine to the Village of Burns Lake to Active Transportation Fund team,” said Bernard Patrick, Chief Operations Officer for Lake Babine Nation.

The funding announced supports Canada’s National Active Transportation Strategy by expanding networks of pathways, bike lanes, trails and pedestrian bridges.

Applications under the Active Transportation Fund for planning and capital projects from eligible Indigenous recipients continue to be accepted on an ongoing basis. A minimum of 10% of the total funding envelope has been allocated for Indigenous recipients to ensure Indigenous communities have access to the Fund. Additionally, Indigenous communities may receive up to 100% of eligible project costs for capital projects that encourage increased active transportation.

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Featured image: Witset Canyon Connection project. (Impact Assessment Agency of Canada)

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