The governments of Canada and British Columbia, along with the Cowichan Valley Regional District and BC Transit, have announced that a site has been selected for the new BC Transit operations and maintenance facility in the Cowichan Valley.
The facility will be located in the Koksilah Industrial Park at the corner of Polkey Road and Boal Road. The proposed new building will include safety features to support the future introduction of compressed natural gas (CNG) technology.
“This site selection will help the Cowichan Valley to meet the growing demand for transit, and the CNG plans will make this a greener, cleaner venture. I look forward to seeing the improvements to infrastructure this project will deliver,” said Claire Trevena, B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.
The centrality of the new location provides access to key transportation corridors for BC Transit vehicles, while the 1.82-hectare lot, almost double that of the existing facility land, will help provide capacity for future expansion of transit services.
“We have seen demand for sustainable and reliable public transportation grow considerably in urban and rural regions throughout our country, including right here in the Cowichan Valley,” said Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “The Government of Canada will continue to support public infrastructure projects that increase safety for transit users, and help British Columbia meet the transit needs of residents now and into the future.”
Since 2000, Cowichan Valley Transit System ridership has risen over 140 per cent, increasing from 195,000 to 470,000 trips taken annually. The fleet size has also increased over 180 per cent from 11 buses in 2000 to 31 currently, and it is projected the fleet size will grow to 50 buses by 2033.
Cowichan Valley Regional District board chair Jon Lefebure said, “The Cowichan Valley Transit System has experienced exceptional growth. This investment opportunity allows us to plan for anticipated future growth of our transit system, while leveraging the most significant federal and provincial contribution available to reduce local taxpayers’ contributions towards this project.”
The project represents a $15-million commitment in the Cowichan Valley Transit System and will position the region to meet future demands for transportation, in addition to improving operational efficiency. The new facility is part of the almost $160 million in federal and provincial funding for BC Transit projects that was first announced in June 2016.