Central Saanich has received funding for a new multi-use pathway that promises to improve access to Butchart Gardens. (Black Press Media File)

Central Saanich has received funding for a new multi-use pathway that promises to improve access to Butchart Gardens. (Black Press Media File)

Central Saanich receives grant for multi-use pathway to Butchart Gardens

Province funds entirety of $322,800 project through economic recovery grant program

Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor said a pathway to Butchart Gardens with a stated cost of $322,800 will help boost the local economy and active forms of transportation.

“Butchart Gardens plays an incredibly important role in the community, employing residents, providing a historical attraction and a major draw for tourists to Central Saanich, and I’m thrilled this project will help make the gardens more accessible for those using active transportation,” he said.

Central Saanich received funding from the province to help build the multi-use pathway next to Benvenuto Avenue from Wallace Drive down to Butchart Gardens. Complete funding for the project comes from a stream of the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program designed to bring visitors back to B.C. communities in supporting in economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Proposed projects under this stream must be shovel-ready with the expectation that they are small and completed within one construction season; strengthen existing destination offerings to enhance the competitiveness and reputation of British Columbia as a ‘must visit’ travel destination; and increase the capacity of tourism destinations to welcome visitors among other criteria.

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Windsor said the project was an excellent fit for the grant program as it supports two council priorities — active transportation and economic development.

Butchart Gardens, a National Historic Site of Canada since 2004, has attracting visitors from around the world since opening in 1904.

While most of the one million annual visitors arrive by vehicle, some guests and many employees access Butchart Gardens by walking or cycling along Bevenuto Avenue. First constructed to support the quarry on Tod Inlet, the road is narrow for cyclists or pedestrians.

The 450-metre-long pathway will remain mainly apart from the roadway and the municipality is exploring the addition of pedestrian lighting and a crosswalk.

Work on the project is to start later this year.


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wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com