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Merritt recieves grant to improve active transportation

Last Thursday, Feb. 27, the City of Merritt hosted a “Thriving Communities Presentation and Resource Showcase”, in partnership with WorkBC.

Last Thursday, Feb. 27, the City of Merritt hosted a “Thriving Communities Presentation and Resource Showcase”, in partnership with WorkBC. At the presentation, Will George, Merritt’s Economic Development and Tourism Manager, announced that the city had received a grant to improve alternative transportation within the community.

The grant, which will provide $25,000 and be matched by the city for a total of $50,000, was provided by the BC Active Transportation Infrastructure Grants Program, which was formerly known as BikeBC. 

Active transportation refers to any type of human-powered commuting, whether for work, socialization or enjoyment. This refers to modes of transportation from simple walking and cycling, to cross-country skiing, kayaking and rollerblading. 

Councillor Tony Luck spoke to the Herald about the possibilities for the grant and how it will improve life for Merrittonians. 

“This grant is an important piece of what I feel is Merritt's vibrant and exciting future,” said Luck. “As communities look to curb the use of motorized vehicles, especially in urban cores, the funding that we received, matched with local taxpayers funds, will help us develop a proper, comprehensive active transportation plan for Merritt, which is intended to increase the overall aesthetic and health of the community. 

“It will give us the opportunity to identify travel networks within the community, for example, walking and cycling paths along some of our greatest assets, the Nicola and Coldwater Rivers.” 

Luck went on to explain how the grant will be incorporated into the city’s future plans. 

“This grant funding is very timely, as we are in the early days of updating our Official Community Plan, Bylaws, and Development processes. So, to get this plan completed and incorporated into the OCP will be great for transportation, park space, downtown revitalization and residential development planning moving forward. I believe we have a great opportunity to improve our community in a very positive manner.

Luck went on to add that the Thriving Community report showed that Merritt has “a great opportunity to expand the walking to work infrastructure.

“As commuting times in Merritt are far less than a lot of other BC communities It would be amazing to enhance the walking and biking experience for commuters, the general public and tourists.”

73% of workers in Merritt have a commute time of 15 minutes or less.

Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald

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