The B.C. government is providing $50,754 to promote cycling as an accessible transportation option and healthy lifestyle choice for SD70 students while providing work experience for two job-seekers from the Alberni Valley.
The pilot project will be coming to Wood Elementary School this spring that will create a bike education curriculum and promote cycling in the community.
The province will purchase 30 bikes at cost through Ozzie’s Cycle which will be provided to the school for the duration of the project and then ultimately donated to the school.
Students will be able to use the bikes as a mode of transportation for field trips in addition to learning about cycling safety and bike maintenance.
“I’m definitely excited for it,” said James Messenger, vice principal at Wood Elementary School. “It’s unique, it’s creative and I think anytime you can do something to engage your students in their learning is a positive. I’m really curious to see where it goes.”
Funding for the project is provided through the Job Creation Partnerships stream of government’s Community and Employer Partnerships program.
Two participants, referred by the Alberni Valley Employment Centre, will create a bike education curriculum while gaining work experience.
“[Cycle Alberni] partnered with the employment centre to get the project going, to scope out the proposal and to figure out how the project could look,” said Sarah Thomas, Cycle Alberni member. “We’re involved directly with supporting the bike training component and integrating it with other cycle projects that are going on.”
Thomas said a challenge that she hears as a bike advocate is that not everyone has bikes anymore.
“It’s challenging to organize bike initiatives at the school when you don’t have bikes for everyone,” she said.
“Teachers want to teach cycling and do cycling with the students but they have this challenge that there’s not equipment. We thought hey, if we could get a class set of bikes then we can do a bike education piece and we can provide employment opportunities while doing this.”
Because one bike does not fit all, two intermediate classes at Wood Elem.will be participating in the pilot project—a Grade 5/6 class and a Grade 6/7.