Project Title:

Schooner Way Trail Links Community and Services on Pender Island

Project Organization:

Capital Regional District 

Project Investment:

  • Island Coastal Economic Trust: $100,000
  • Total Budget: $1,510,000

Project Highlight:

Destination trail project to connect community amenities, prioritizing sustainable tourism and active transportation.

The Pender Island Parks and Recreation Commission, a branch of the Capital Regional District, is breaking ground on the Schooner Way Trail Project. Phase one of this initiative will support a 1.2 km section of a planned 20-km destination trail network.

This section of the trail will improve access between Magic Lake, Medicine Beach Sanctuary, the local school, the medical clinic, and the Medicine Beach Commercial Complex. Once completed, the trail will connect BC Ferry passengers with the community in a loop trail.

The project is supported through the Island Coastal Economic Trust’sCapital and Innovation Program with its focus on Culture and Nature Based Tourism. 

Strengthening Community Wellbeing: 

The Schooner Way Trail received unanimous support through a series of open house meetings held throughout the community. Local Businesses, recognizing the vital community benefit of a safe transportation network, have also shown their support. Collectively, they have committed financial support – $200,000 so far – towards the initiative. 

Once complete, the trail will connect the most densely populated subdivision on Pender Island with Parks Canada and CRD Regional Parks trails, creating a circular route through North and South Pender. Subsequent development will create a destination trail that reaches across the island.  

Economic Prosperity: The Schooner Way Trail is part of a large trail network that will deliver scaled economic benefits across the community with the completion of each phase. 

As the project develops, it is expected to attract more tourism and encourage longer stays, positively impacting local businesses, attractions, and services across the island. The ripple effect of the initiative also forecasts new businesses, including bicycle and e-bike rentals, retail businesses, and additional accommodation options. 

Social Empowerment: Pender Island has experienced a population surge over the past five years, notably welcoming young families into the community. Paired with the growth in tourism, there has been demonstrated community support for an active transportation network. The project encourages active lifestyles and transportation, connecting commercial businesses, parks, and the most densely populated neighbourhood on Pender Island along a safe, separated active transportation trail. 

Phase one, which is for a 1.2-km trail, is also small by design. Its project scope will empower local contractors to bid on this contract and keep vital employment opportunities local. 

Environmental Sustainability: The Schooner Way Trail, and the larger destination trail project, aims to create an alternative transportation network across Pender Island. By creating a safe, separated trail network that promotes active transportation, it is expected to reduce traffic congestion and emissions. 

The project aligns with Pender Island’s strategic priorities to support sustainable tourism and reduce vehicular emissions. 

What Leaders Are Saying: 

“I am excited to see the community-driven Schooner Way Trail project get underway on Pender Island. This first phase is vital and will spur further developments. Once complete, it will serve as an excellent active transportation trail for residents, provide impetus to connect with other existing trails and form the critical destination trail network that empowers visitors to visit without their vehicles.” – Paul Brent, Area Director for Southern Gulf Islands, Capital Regional District 

“Pender Island continues to see tremendous population and tourism growth, which emphasizes the need for an active transportation trail. The Schooner Way Trail will make an immediate impact, connecting a densely populated area with existing businesses and other trails, while the project’s larger initiative will create viable transportation alternatives across the island.” – Adam Olsen, MLA, Saanich North and the Islands 

“We invested in the Schooner Way Trail project for its focus on nature-based tourism, but we were equally impressed by the community-wide support for the project. The Capital Regional District received unanimous support for the project through a series of open house meetings held throughout the community, signalling that it truly addresses a vital community priority.” – Aaron Stone, Chair, Island Coastal Economic Trust.  

Media Contacts 

Jeff Bartlett
Communications and Impact Manager
Island Coastal Economic Trust

Stephen Henderson
Senior Manager of Real Estate and Administration of SGI Services
Capital Regional District

Island Coastal Economic Trust approved funding for this project in June 2024 through the Capital and Innovation program.