City Receives Grant to Electrify the Mountains
On Monday, March 29th, the Province announced that it was helping Kimberley “Electrify the Mountains”. An $851,522 grant provided by the Province of British Columbia under the Tourism Dependent Community Fund, will see the development of a new world-class, e-bike trail network that will not only boost the tourism sector but will also open up mountain biking opportunities for those who were unable to participate before – persons with disabilities, older generations, and those with adapted equipment.
The project is a joint effort of Sustainable Kimberley, Tourism Kimberley, Kimberley Trails Society, Kootenay Outdoor Recreation Enterprise, Kootenay Adaptive Sports Association, Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, and the City of Kimberley.
Electrifying the Mountains will consist of the development of 36 kilometers of new and updated trails designed for Class 1, pedal-assist e-bikes and adaptive trikes. The project will also see signage installation; solar charging stations on the trails; and accessible washroom facilities. Organizers hope to eventually see a network of e-bike and trike accessible trails throughout the Kootenay region – a first of its kind in North America. The aim is to develop a unique destination development product that will boost the economy, increase tourist visits, and create jobs post-pandemic and beyond.
Mayor Don McCormick is happy with the development stating, “The e-bike phenomenon is not a fad - it is here to stay! Kimberley will be the first community in North America to embrace a purpose-built trail network for e-bikes and adaptive e-bikes. This is a significant addition to our recreation amenities for use by visitors and resident alike.”
Ryan McKenzie, General Manager of the Kimberley Trails Society, looks forward to the initiative. “This project will be a remarkable addition and will add sustainability, accessibility and diversity to our trail network. The universal design of e-bike and adaptive trails will be a great benefit to many who visit from out of town as well as local residents."
McKenzie continued, "E-bike trails will look a lot like traditional trails but will be built with sustainability in mind so they can withstand any additional traffic and other factors, such as climate change, better over time. Adaptive trails are often slightly wider than single-track trails to accommodate some of the different adaptive bike designs. There will be a variety of different trails in this project that will benefit the intended audiences as well as other groups such as winter sports enthusiasts, families and those already enjoying our current trail network."
Sustainable Kimberley Founder, Andrew Bond, believes the project will be a game-changer for Kimberley and surrounding areas. “Electrify the Mountain is a tangible example of Canadian innovation that will speed the transition from fossil fueled motorbikes and ATV's to low impact eSports, and delivering on Canada's promise to reduce GHG emissions. Off-grid solar charging greatly extends the range that eMTB's can travel, enabling epic trips and adventures for all ages and abilities. As a world first (we believe) these forward thinking projects will put Kimberley BC on the global map.”
The Electrify the Mountains project is underway and is expected to be complete by September 2022.