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Three Central Saanich schools to benefit from new safety measures

Total provincial investments into active transportation in Central Saanich exceed $700,000
Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor, School District 63 board chair Tim Dunford and Saanich South MLA Lana Popham - recently appointed as minister of tourism, arts, culture and sport - try out the new crosswalk near Keating Elementary in Central Saanich. The improvements count among three active transportation projects recently completed in that community. (District of Central Saanich/Submitted)

New crosswalks with flashing lights and sidewalk extensions promise to improve pedestrian safety near three schools in Central Saanich.

The improvements officially unveiled Friday apply to Keating Elementary and the intersection at Wallace Drive and Marchant, a route travelled to both Bayside Middle School and Brentwood Elementary.

Mayor Ryan Windsor said in a release that the municipality’s active transportation plan identified school routes as a priority.

“(And) these two locations were high on the list,” he said.

Windsor, along with Couns. Niall Paltiel and Sarah Riddell, joined Saanich South MLA Lana Popham, recently appointed as minister of tourism, arts, culture and sport, School District 63 superintendent Dave Eberwein, school board chair Tim Dunford and school trustee Susan Hickman outside the school Friday during the official opening.

The school improvements cost $650,000, with $400,000 in grant funding from the BC Active Transportation Infrastructure Grant Program.

Rob Fleming, minister of transportation and infrastructure, said safety for kids in school zones is critically important.

“The community of Central Saanich will benefit from the improvements to these routes as we support making active transportation safer, easier, and more attractive for people in their daily lives,” he said.

The improvements at Keating Elementary and the intersection of Wallace Drive and Marchant count among three completed active transportation projects.

RELATED: Sidney, Central Saanich benefit from B.C. funding for active transportation plans

The other major project added a 450-metre pathway along Benvenuto Avenue to encourage walking and cycling to Butchart Gardens and Tod Inlet.

According to a release, the new pathway begins near the BC Transit stop at Wallace Drive. Benvenuto Avenue is the only road access to Butchart Gardens, an internationally known public attraction, hosting over a million visitors a year.

Twelve cherry blossom trees donated by Butchart Gardens line the pathway.

The project received $322,800 from the provincial government to help municipalities recover from COVID-19.

Windsor said the municipality has been working hard to secure grants.

“Installing infrastructure is quite expensive and financing our Active Transportation Plan requires a multi-faceted approach. Contributions such as these really make all the difference for a community like ours with a modest tax base,” he said. “We are grateful to the Province of British Columbia for recognizing the importance of these upgrades.”

The municipality is also trying to improve active transportation signage.

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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