Thousands of people will be taking to the streets in cities around the globe in late September to celebrate the annual World Car Free Day – a public people-centered celebration characterized by free family-oriented activities for all to enjoy. The non-profit society Imagine Comox Valley has taken a leadership role in spearheading a Car Free Sunday for the Comox Valley which will occur on September 25, from 1-5pm in each of the municipalities of Cumberland, Courtenay and Comox.
“To say we’re excited for this event is an understatement,” says Imagine Comox Valley co-founder Andrew Gower. “The interest for the event has been overwhelming and has come from all corners of the community – schools, arts and entertainment, sports clubs, public service groups, members of the business community and individual citizens.” Car Free Days are celebrated all around the world to provide opportunities to the public to experience streets in a creative, non-motorized way. “It may not be something we all think about, but streets make up the single largest public space in most communities. Car Free Days provide opportunity to share the streets with other uses and other users,” says Gower.
Cumberland, Courtenay and Comox Councils have each approved routes within their communities. “Car Free Days have proven to be quite popular in a number of other communities,” says Nancy Hofer, Environmental Planner with the City of Courtenay. “I think most people enjoy them for the activities, but if the event inspires people to not use a car for some of their trips, then that is consistent with the Comox Valley’s greenhouse gas reduction goals.”
A key element to nearly all Car Free Days is that they are grassroots in that they are organized by and for the public. Traffic management and activities along the three routes within the Comox Valley will be mostly staffed by volunteers. “We’ve had over 100 volunteers sign up for the event so far. We’re looking for another hundred,” says David Frisch, Volunteer Coordinator. “Basically anything you can think of that is people-oriented and legal. We’ve heard proposals for children’s games, neighborhood parties, yard sales, street theater, street hockey, music and organized fitness activities. If you have ideas and want to get involved, we want to hear from you!”
To sign up to volunteer for the First Ever Comox Valley Car Free Sunday visit: www.imaginecomoxvalley.ca. More information on the routes and details of the day will be posted on the website as they’re made available. If you are interested in running an activity such as a free yoga class, aerobics, cooking class, scooter rodeo etc, please contact Imagine Comox Valley and check the website for the time slots and venues available. Time slots at each venue will be filled on a first come, first served basis and this event will provide businesses and organizations an excellent opportunity to showcase their services.
Below are the route maps for the 3 Comox Valley communities: