Trikes al­lowed on Syd­ney board­walk

‘I’ve been re­ally en­cour­aged from the re­sponse from the com­mu­nity thus far’

Cape Breton Post - - NEWS - BY NANCY KING nk­ing@cb­

Cape Bre­ton Re­gional coun­cil­lors have voted in favour of an ex­emp­tion that will al­low the rid­ing of tri­cy­cles on the Syd­ney board­walk this sum­mer. The de­ci­sion paves the way for a pi­lot pro­ject by 32 Spokes to pro­ceed — a new ven­ture that will of­fer cruise ship pas­sen­gers and lo­cals a chance to ex­plore down­town Syd­ney us­ing the three­wheeled con­trap­tions.

Com­pany founder Heather Voyles told coun­cil at a meet­ing this week that she is still await­ing word on fund­ing but it could come any day. She hopes to be able to pur­chase a dozen of the trikes but the fi­nal num­ber will de­pend on the amount of fund­ing re­ceived.

“I’ve been re­ally en­cour­aged from the re­sponse from the com­mu­nity thus far,” Voyles said.

“My hope is that bring­ing the ex­tra energy and vi­tal­ity to the board­walk will be ben­e­fi­cial to the com­mu­nity at large.”

Orig­i­nally, Voyles was also seek­ing ap­proval for bi­cy­cles, but she aban­doned that part of the pro­posal. The ex­emp­tion ap­proved for this sea­son by coun­cil does not ap­ply to bi­cy­cles. She also did not pur­sue an ex­emp­tion for side­walks. The pi­lot will end with the con­clu­sion of the cruise ship sea­son.

Voyles said there’s a mar­ket es­pe­cially for tourists who want to take their time to ex­plore a com­mu­nity on a low-im­pact, pedes­trian-friendly trike.

Trikes are sin­gle-speed and move more slowly than bi­cy­cles.

Coun­cil has also asked staff to de­velop an is­sue pa­per on the use of trikes on the board­walk. If coun­cil had sought an is­sue pa­per prior to mov­ing ahead with the pi­lot, it would have pre­vented 32 Spokes from op­er­at­ing this sum­mer.

Sev­eral mem­bers of coun­cil said they were con­cerned about the po­ten­tial im­pact on pedes­tri­ans us­ing the board­walk.

Dist. 8 Coun. Kevin Sac­cary noted the CBRM in­vested mil­lions of dol­lars in de­vel­op­ing the board­walk, not­ing it can at­tract up to thou­sands of peo­ple, in­clud­ing small chil­dren, dur­ing spe­cial events.

“To me it’s pretty straight­for­ward — it’s a board­walk, not a multi-use path,” he said.

“I be­lieve a num­ber of peo­ple would be of­fended if they were walk­ing down the board­walk with their fam­ily and they had to jump out of the way of any ob­sta­cle com­ing in the op­po­site di­rec­tion.”

Voyles will carry in­sur­ance and will work to ed­u­cate her cus­tomers, noted Paul Burt, CBRM man­ager of build­ing, plan­ning and li­cens­ing laws.

“The op­por­tu­nity to do the pi­lot would then give us the ba­sic in­for­ma­tion to al­low us to eval­u­ate whether or not it could or couldn’t be done suc­cess­fully ver­sus try­ing to give you an is­sue pa­per be­fore the pi­lot ac­tu­ally starts, and then we’re do­ing it based on hy­po­thet­i­cal sit­u­a­tions or sce­nar­ios,” noted Mike MacKeigan, man­ager of util­i­ties ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Voyles is a mem­ber of the Uhma In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy startup im­mer­sion pro­gram based at the New Dawn Cen­tre for So­cial In­no­va­tion in Syd­ney.

In later phases, the busi­ness may also of­fer re­mote-con­trolled sail­boats, pedal-pow­ered fun­boats and kayaks, and a pedes­trian and cy­cle-friendly ferry be­tween Syd­ney and West­mount along with har­bour tours.

The tri­cy­cles gen­er­ally re­tail for $549.


Heather Voyles, founder of 32 Spokes, takes a ride on one of the trikes that will form a small fleet of low im­pact, pedes­trian-friendly trikes and bikes for daily rental dur­ing the sum­mer and early fall. CBRM coun­cil has voted in favour of an ex­emp­tion that will al­low trikes to be rid­den on the Syd­ney board­walk un­der a pi­lot pro­ject.


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