I Gotta Ask, have you seen the Yellow Bicycles Blossom in the Boonies?
“The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine.” — John Howard, US cyclist
I have a wonderful friend by the name of Pamela Walker who lives a few doors down from us and is not only a part time actress, was until recently, a Blue Berry farmer with her wonderful husband, and is one of the most amazingly community minded people that I have ever met, always giving back and enriching the people and community that she comes in contact with. One of the many contributions that she has made with her like minded friends is outlined below in her own words and I can see many of us benefiting by being able to hop on a bicycle and go for an enjoyable ride without having to dodge vehicles in our rural area.
Brightly coloured yellow bicycles started appearing on Yellow Point Road and Cedar Road early last month.
Social media was quick to spring into action with comments, such as “I gotta ask. What’s with all the yellow bicycles?” Replies ensued ranging from an art project to the promotion of an annual bike race to a “pant and paddle” race. Most agreed they were “pretty cute.” A few said their kids had a great time trying to spot them all along the circular route.
Many, however, guessed it right: The yellow bicycles are a ploy to get people talking about the idea of having an multi-purpose off road path around the Yellow Point and Cedar area with offshoots to Duke Point Ferry at one end and the Nanaimo Airport bus stop to the Park and Ride at South Cedar Road on the other.
People were also quick with their opinions about it. If it was about a bike path, then who would pay for it? Would people give up have to their land? Would the bicycles and the path be used by thieves to make fast get-aways? Most people, however, seemed to agree the roads are dangerous for anyone who is cycling, riding horseback, pushing their toddlers in a stroller, or merely walking to their neighbour’s. Drivers are speeding, there are many blind corners, and some places lack adequate shoulders.
The yellow bicycles and the idea of a Yellow Point Trail is the brainchild of the Yellow Point Ecological Society (YES). Wouldn’t it be wonderful, someone said at a meeting, were we to have a dedicated path around the area that would make it safer for those who want to enjoy the natural beauty of the area. Somebody else got on the phone and we started making enquiries.
To date, YES has received endorsement letters from Paul Manly MP, Doug Routley MLA, the directors for RDN Area A and CVRD Area H, the Town of Ladysmith, and the Chamber of Commerce. We have also joined the BC Cycling Coalition, consulted with an engineering firm, and spoken with folks at the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
It turns out there is a lot of interest—and money—for what the provincial government calls Active Transportation Infrastructure. The truth is that governments at all levels have realized roads and highways are not the bee’s knees they once were. Driving makes for an overweight population who have to breathe polluted air. It is also very dangerous.
The COVID pandemic has taught us that getting out into nature is healthy. And fun. Bicycle riding has become so popular, in fact, that it is difficult to get bike parts and nearly impossible to find fancy bike outfits. People are realizing that they want somewhere safe to ride. And to walk to school. And to ride their horse. And hop on a mobility scooter. And walk the dog.
The provincial government has responded by creating a comprehensive design guide for paths, by allocating money for projects, and by encouraging city planners to think more carefully before paving more paradise without thinking first about pedestrians and peddlers.
So, could the CVRD and the RDN get some of that money? The folks at YES think it’s possible. Nanaimo just received $500,000 towards the Metral Drive Active Transportation route. North Cowichan got almost $300,000, and Salt Spring Island received $490.000. [https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020TRAN0089-001145]
Of course, it will take all of us to make it happen. YES thinks we need to support it in ways that don’t include digging into our own pockets. As a young man on a recent YES Zoom call suggested, “If you go to referendum and ask people if they want their taxes to go up, you won’t get the support. But if you don’t have to do that, I think we have a chance.”
Let’s hope we do. To get involved or for more information, contact YES at yellowpointecologicalsociety.ca or call Pamela Walker at 250 245-9155.
Hope you all have an AWESOME weekend!!!
Brian McCullough, RE/MAX of Nanaimo
#1-5140 Metral Drive
Nanaimo, BC V9T 2K8
Office: (250) -751 – 1223