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Rural Inter-Community Transportation Study

Cortes Islanders will be familiar with efforts over the years to explore improvements in transportation options for residents and visitors, while reducing the Island’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.   This new study has just been announced by the province to address rural Inter-Community transportation.  For Cortes Islanders, this is mainly about finding affordable and reliable solutions to the challenge of crossing Quadra Island without a personal vehicle to access essential goods and services not available on Cortes.

These consultations are being held during the month of June and are intended to eventually help inform the design of a new micro-granting program, in order to fund projects prioritized by communities through this study.

With funding eventually available to support the outcomes of this study, this is a promising initiative for our island, and I hope you will participate! Besides the survey, you can also participate through in-person community sessions, and online/virtual sessions.

Read below for more about this project, and for much more follow this link: https://islandcoastaltrust.ca/news/island-coastal-inter-community-transportation-study/.

What is This Study About?Island Coastal Economic Trust (the Trust) and Vancouver Island Economic Alliance (VIEA), with funding provided by the Province, are exploring passenger transportation between communities on Vancouver Island and parts of coastal B.C., including the Sunshine Coast.

The focus is on passenger transportation connections between communities, especially in rural and remote areas as well as the islands, that are either not currently served or are underserved by buses, ferries, water taxis, float planes, community shuttles, or other ways of getting around. Connections between transportation modes (e.g., ferry to bus) are also included. This study will look at what exists today with community-to-community transportation, will consult on the challenges and barriers, and will bring forward the opportunities to better connect communities. The purpose is to provide the provincial government with information to help inform future policy and investment decisions in the region.

It should also be noted that the Greater Victoria area and existing transit services within communities are not part of this study.

With this in mind, the Trust and VIEA are hoping to hear from you on what has been seen and felt when it comes to current community-to-community transportation and other such issues through an online survey. The survey is available from now until June 30, 2023.

Why is it Important to ParticipateHearing from you and others in communities will help this study in understanding the following:

– What are the challenges when it comes to existing passenger transportation among communities?– What is important to address when it comes to transportation, such as safety and reliability?– What needs are not being met today, in being able to transit between your community and other communities?– What can be done to improve the means of, and access to, transportation between your community and other communities?– To recognize the time being put toward the survey, five $100 VISA gift cards will be awarded at random to those who complete it by the deadline (June 30, 2023).

How else can I participate in this study?

Besides the online survey, facilitated sessions will be held with First Nations, local governments, industry, local research organizations, and community groups across Vancouver Island and in the Sunshine Coast. These sessions will be by invitation. If you would like to be included in a session, please email: registrations.bc@mnp.ca.

For Cortes Island residents, the closest in-person community session is Campbell River on June 23, 2023. The online session for Rural Island Communities is on Tuesday, June 27, 2023 from 1 to 4 pm. 

Is there an incentive to participate?

Your views and suggestions will help inform future strategies along with initiatives aimed at improving community-to-community transportation. We are also offering the chance to win one of five $100 VISA gift cards for those who take part in the online survey by the deadline (June 30, 2023).

Is there financial support for participating?

There are funds available to help cover travel costs for Indigenous people located in remote areas to attend the in-person engagement sessions. For more information, please email registrations.bc@mnp.ca. Indigenous participants will be offered an honorarium for participating in these engagement sessions.

Kate Maddigan is the Economic Development Officer for the Cortes Community Economic Development Association/CCEDA. Please reach her at kate@cceda.ca, and for more on CCEDA visit their website at www.cceda.ca.

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Photo credit: Christian Gronau

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