New lakeside outdoor seating areas and public art will expand visitor options

COURTENAY, 28 January 2022 – Four lakeview seating areas, public art, and cycling infrastructure will enhance connectivity between Shawnigan’s village centre and nearby lakeshore, with funding support from the THRIVE Small Capital Program.

This project represents the first phase in a comprehensive plan to develop the Village as a complete community, create a vibrant tourism sector, and revitalize the small business core. Connectivity between the village and the lakeside walking/cycling trail was identified as a priority through a robust engagement process initiated in 2019 and updated during the pandemic.

“Projects that enhance accessibility and walkability, while creating more ways to gather outdoors, help communities boost resiliency during and post-pandemic,” says ICET Board Chair Aaron Stone. “These improvements will also support year-round visitor and local activity, which is a key aspect of the THRIVE Program.”

Funding will be used to create four distinct seating and viewscape sites along the ‘all ages and abilities’ waterfront Rail Trail park area adjacent to the Shawnigan Village commercial core. Outdoor seating will consist of colourful benches, tables and chairs, which will be coordinated across each site to symbolically connect the four viewing portals.

“Shawnigan Lake is a popular summer destination with expanding shoulder season potential thanks to upgrades to walking and cycling infrastructure, and nearby attractions such as the Kinsol Trestle and Malahat SkyWalk,” says Anthony Everett, President & CEO, Tourism Vancouver Island. “The integrated viewpoint approach will resonate with visitors and locals alike.”

The funding will also be used to acquire unique and artistically designed bicycle racks, which will function as public art, and will improve cycling access to the Village.The project team will work with the Cowichan South Arts Guild, First Nations and CVRD Parks Division staff to review design options for sculptural bike racks which represent the community and history of the Village.

“The outdoor amenity space will allow for visitors and customers in the Village to stroll a block to the lakeside after purchasing food from local vendors where they can sit comfortably outside and enjoy the view of our beautiful lake,” says Garry Horwood, President of the Shawnigan Residents Association. “These small improvements will build momentum and support for further implementation of the Shawnigan Village Plan.”

The project is set to get underway shortly.

The THRIVE Small Capital Program was launched in late May to help stimulate and promote vitality in downtowns, Main Streets and business districts across the region. One-stop funding support of up to 100% of eligible project costs is available thanks to a collaboration with the Island Coastal Economic Trust, Tourism Vancouver Island (TVI) and the Vancouver, Coast & Mountains tourism region (managed by Destination BC).

All applications to the THRIVE Small Capital Funding Stream are now accepted on an ongoing basis until the program is fully subscribed.

For more information on the THRIVE Small Capital Funding Stream, please visit our website:


About the Island Coastal Economic Trust
Created and capitalized by the Province of BC in 2006, the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) mission is to create a more diverse and globally competitive Island and Coastal economy. In partnership with local and regional governments, non-profits and Indigenous communities, ICET serves over half a million residents. Funding and support for economic infrastructure and other economic diversification initiatives is delivered through a unique community centered decision-making process. Since inception, ICET has approved more than $55 million in funding for over 280 initiatives. These investments have leveraged over $270 million in new investment into the region creating more than 2600 construction phase jobs and 2750 long-term permanent jobs.

For further information:
Hilary Muth, Communications Coordinator
Island Coastal Economic Trust
Tel. 250-871-7797 (Ext. 228)