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Victoria, Esquimalt benefit from students' eco-research

Esquimalt hopes to put the findings of a group of Camosun College students to use in planning the township's cycling infrastructure.

The students gathered the information via the Capital Regional District's Ready, Set Solve learning competition. They were one of 18 teams of students from Camosun, the University of Victoria and Royal Roads University that were given two months to solve an existing climate-related challenge in the Capital Region.

The first-place team from Camosun: Jessica Shamek, Oliver Terry, Jane Patterson, Ashley and David Bronaugh, were tasked with creating an inventory and mapping bicycle parking facilities and amenities in Esquimalt.

The group found a total of 4.56 kilometres of bike lanes, 42 bike racks, 124 signs and road surface stencils referring to cycling and 303 bike parking spots in the municipality.

The findings provide a starting point for determining how to improve cycling infrastructure in Esquimalt, said Marlene Lagoa, the township's sustainability co-ordinator.

“This is very valuable for us as a template so we can move forward fixing gaps that were found,” she said. “They updated our biking maps (and determined) we did not have any information on the amount of bike racks.”

The information gathered will help the township determine such things as where best to place bike racks to better access businesses districts in the municipality.

Esquimalt could promote more activity in its parks if more racks were installed within them, Lagoa added.

The information can also be used in conjunction with guidelines from the CRD’s Pedestrian Cycling Master Plan, which directs planning and investments for supporting cycling and walking in the region.

The work done by the students is also in step with Esquimalt’s goal to reduce greenhouse gases by 38 per cent from 2007 levels by 2020.

“Esquimalt is a great place to ride your bike and we hope our project will help the municipality to become an even more cycle-friendly place,” said Shamek.

Royal Roads students Jesse Johnston-Hill, Alyssa Beurling, Dione Hunter and Tysha Murphy placed second for their work designing and developing plans for a Youth Climate Action Camp for Victoria parks and rec.

And the UVic team of Jaime Chong, Julia Warren, Kate Williams, Katie Liébault placed third for their development of a natural playscape plan for the Oaklands Community Centre's Neighbourhood House.

A full list of projects can be found at bit.ly/11esS7B.

editor@vicnews.com

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