Ucluelet has swung and missed on a grant application to connect the town’s current Multi-Use Path to the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
The Park Reserve is nearing completion of a 25-kilometre path spanning its northern and southern boundaries, which is expected to be unveiled next summer.
When the Park Reserve announced its plan to build the path back in 2016, leaders in both Tofino and Ucluelet expressed concern around the safety of visitors and residents trying to navigate the shoulderless stretches of highways on either end to access the new path from their communities and both began pursuing options to bridge their respective gaps.
Last month, Tofino unveiled a completed 2.8 kilometre, $3.9 million, addition to the town’s Multi-Use Path linking to the Park Reserve, which was paid for with support from the provincial and federal governments, Island Coastal Economic Trust and Resort Municipality Initiative funding.
Ucluelet has yet to break ground on their end and the district recently received some tough news when it learned its $870,000 grant application to build a path connecting its current Multi-Use Path to the Park Reserve was denied.
“The majority of the funding that we were counting on and everybody was pretty sure was going to come to fruition has not happened,” Ucluelet councillor Rachelle Cole told the Westerly News.
The land Ucluelet’s proposed path extension sits on is owned by the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District and Cole is Ucluelet’s representative on the ACRD board.
She said Ucluelet’s path extension is expected to cost just over $1 million and with the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program application denied, the ACRD plans to pursue a variety of smaller grants, including a $200,000 grant from the Island Coastal Economic Trust.
Cole said it’s important for Ucluelet to get support on the project to present a uniformly consistent pathway linking the two communities to the Park Reserve and properly representing an “allied West Coast.”
“It is going to happen. There’s no way that it’s not going to happen. We are going to be connected…I feel confident in that 100 per cent. There’s very few things I feel 100 per cent confident in these days, but that is definitely one,” Cole said.
“The way it’s been done and what makes sense might need to change a little, but we’re not going to get left out. We just need to make sure that we get support in making it happen…I’m confident that this is not going to fall off the edge of someone’s desk because I won’t let it.”