Premier Christy Clark was in Qualicum Beach Friday to announce the community will be one of two allowing golf carts to operate on some local roads beginning in September.
The pilot project, also approved for Chase, is partly in response to requests to provide drivers with more transportation options, Clark said.
“This change makes it easier for people, particularly seniors, to stay engaged in their community and access the services that make their lives better,” she said.
“We have heard from residents that they would like additional options to use alternative and environmentally friendly vehicles,” Qualicum Beach Mayor Teunis Westbroek said.
“Golf carts will give our (residents) more ways to get around and we are thrilled to be part of this pilot project as I believe it is appropriate in our community.”
According to minutes from its Feb. 1 regular meeting this year, Qualicum Beach Council had briefly discussed provisions for the use of golf carts on town-owned streets and pathways during a delegation presentation by Staff Stg. Brian Hunter, then commander of the Oceanside RCMP.
The pilot project will run for a period of one to two years, providing the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the participating municipalities with information about how and where it can be rolled out in other parts of the province.
“This project will improve the daily lives of British Columbians,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “This is not for everyone and not for every community but for communities like Qualicum Beach and Chase, it makes good sense for their citizens. I look forward to the increased use of low-emission vehicles as we work towards our greenhouse-gas reduction goals and aim to increase accessibility in the province.”
The carts will need to meet detailed conditions like only driving on municipal roads with a maximum speed of 30 km/h during daylight hours. The golf cart must be registered and insured and be equipped with seat belts, a horn, lights, signals and a rear-view mirror. Drivers will need to have a valid driver’s licence.
The change comes into effect in September, when residents in Qualicum Beach and Chase will be able to purchase golf cart insurance and obtain a permit from their local government.
“This innovative pilot project will provide British Columbians with more transportation choices.” said Michelle Stilwell, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum. “Qualicum Beach is a great location to trial the program, keeping people, especially seniors, connected with their family, friends and community.”
In B.C. on the Move, the government’s 10-year transportation plan, the province has committed to explore opportunities to allow drivers more choices to use slow-moving vehicles in smaller communities. A key goal is for B.C. communities to have the most accessible transportation options in Canada by 2024 and this pilot project supports that goal, a ministry release stated.
— NEWS staff and B.C. Government submission