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World-class accessible cycling trails improved for the Kootenays

New Democrat MLA Katrine Conroy says that people with disabilities will have more opportunities to enjoy outdoor recreation and adventure in the region thanks to government job creation funding.

“People with disabilities can face barriers that prevent them from fully enjoying their communities,” said Katrine Conroy, MLA for Kootenay West. “As we get ready to celebrate B.C.’s second AccessAbility Week, I am proud of the people of our region for pulling together to create recreational facilities and opportunities that make the Kootenays a better place to live for everyone.”

The Nakusp and Area Bike Society (NABS) and Kootenay Adaptive Sport Association (KASA) have received a combined $445,616 from the province for their two projects. Both organizations have hired local job-seekers who will gain valuable job skills as they transform Mt. Abriel into an inclusive destination and provide barrier-free adventures for people of all abilities.

The province is providing funding for these projects through the Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) program which helps community organizations and employers increase local employment opportunities.

“Mount Abriel Trail Network is becoming a world-class destination that is part of a larger regional network of accessible mountain bike riding trails that supports physical activity and outdoor enjoyment for persons with diverse abilities and anyone who wants to come out and enjoy the natural beauty of the Arrow lakes region,” said Dawn Driscoll, Project Manager.

"We have had so much support from funders, volunteers, local organizations and businesses donating their equipment, time and resources to support this project. There is no way we could have reached where we are today without the heart, dedication and support of people.”

NABS will build on last year’s accessible bridge and campground construction project with the building of the Abriel Pavilion, an accessible viewing platform & picnic shelter, and a mountain bike skills park.

KASA will implement a region-wide adaptive sport program that includes adaptive sport equipment rentals for residents and visitors.

When completed, there will be 50 kilometres of trails built through the forest from the top of Mount Abriel, down to the lakeshore campground, where there are 26 accessible sites.

MLA Conroy said that the New Democrat government is committed to creating local jobs through programs like CEP, and making life more affordable and accessible for people with disabilities.

Quick Facts:

  • May 27 – June 2 is AccessAbility Week — a week to promote inclusion and accessibility and recognize the efforts of individuals and organizations that actively remove barriers for people with disabilities in their communities.
  • Approximately $15 million will be invested in CEP projects throughout B.C. in 2019/20.
  • Since the program began in 2012, more than 381 CEP projects have helped local communities, employers and people looking for work.