Kimberley has been awarded an $851,522 grant by way of the Province of B.C.’s Tourism Dependent Community Fund to be used to build a new trail network for e-bikes, a project dubbed “Electrify the Mountains.”
In a Tuesday press release, the City said that this trail will be world class and will provide a boost to the tourism sector as well as make mountain biking accessible to those who were unable to before, such as people with disabilities, older generations and those with adapted equipment.
The project is the result of the combined efforts 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.
Electrify the Mountains will see 36 kilometres of new and updated trails built and designed for Class 1, pedal-assist e-bikes and adaptive trikes. The project also encompasses the installation of signage, solar charging stations on the trails and accessible washroom facilities.
According to the city, organizers also hope to one day see a network of e-bike and trike accessible trails extend all throughout the Kootenay region, which would be the first of its kind anywhere in North America.
The project’s goal is to develop a unique destination development product that will boost the economy, bolster tourism and create jobs, post-pandemic and beyond.
“The e-bike phenomenon is not a fad – it is here to stay,” said Mayor Don McCormick. “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.”
“This project will be a remarkable addition and will add sustainability, accessibility and diversity to our trail network,” added Ryan McKenzie, general manager of the Kimberley Trails Society. “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.
“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.”
Andrew Bond, founder of Sustainable Kimberley, said believes Electrify the Mountains will be a “game-changer” for Kimberley and the 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,” Bond said. “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 B.C. on the global map.”
Electrify the Mountains is already underway, with completion expected by September, 2022.