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Nov 15: Lower Mainland Greenway Project...

Lower Mainland Greenway Project First Recipient of $1-Million Vancity Award

Vancouver, November 15, 2001 - A leisure path that will stretch like a ribbon of green from New Westminster to Vancouver is the recipient of the first-ever $1-million Vancity Award.

The 25-kilometre path, to be called the Vancity Greenway, is a project of the environmental advocacy group,B.E.S.T. (Better Environmentally Sound Transportation) and will link New Westminster, Coquitlam, Burnaby and Vancouver. Running from False Creek near Science World to the Fraser River at the mouth of the Brunette River, it will be the only flat, low-traffic route linking these communities.

The Vancity Greenway

In the spirit of the Seawall and the TransCanada trail, the Vancity Greenway will be free to all members of the public for walking, cycling and rollerblading and will connect neighbourhoods, workplaces, parks, forests and rivers across the region.

The $1-million Vancity Award will pay for the initial construction of the greenway. The project is expected to cost $8-$12 million overall. The initial trail is expected to be ready by the end of next year and the trail completed by summer 2004.

B.E.S.T.'s project was chosen from among four finalists by Vancity members who voted for their choice in September and October. More than 190 non-profit organizations applied for the award, and four were placed on a ballot to be voted on by Vancity members. The $1-million award money comes from the percentage of profits set aside each year for community initiatives.

The other three finalists includedGreen Thumb Theatre for Young People, a theatre company that produces topical plays, for the purchase or renovation of a theatre and production centre;United Community Services Co-operative, a network of community organizations, for the construction or renovation of a leadership centre; andWest Coast Environmental Law, an environmental policy-making organization for the transformation of a Vancouver heritage building into a state-of-the-art "green building".

"All of these ideas were stellar, and Vancity would have been proud to fully support whichever project our members chose," says Greg McDade, chair of Vancity's Board of Directors. "The greenway is truly an exciting project that will literally change the face of this area. The opportunity to connect communities, improve our region and offer something that can be enjoyed for generations to come is exactly why we created the award."

Vancity CEO Dave Mowat said he is invigorated by members' enthusiasm about the award.

"We're excited about the interest that has been generated with our members and in the community. We are pleased that so many want to work with us to make our communities better places to live and work," he says.

Dave Thompson, executive director of B.E.S.T., said his organization is grateful for the award and anxious to get going on the project.

"This is a dream for us. The Vancity Greenway will help improve the environmental health of the region by offering a green commuting option and by enabling us to conserve an important piece of nature. It will also benefit the physical health of the millions of citizens who will use it in the years to come," Thompson says.

Applications for the next Vancity Award will be accepted from non-profit organizations in the communities Vancity serves starting in February 2002.

Vancity is Canada's largest credit union, with $7.3 billion in assets, 271,000 members, and 39 branches throughout Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Victoria. Vancity owns Citizens Bank of Canada, serving members across the country by telephone, ATM, and the Internet. Both Vancity and Citizens Bank are guided by a commitment to corporate social responsibility, and to improve the quality of life in the communities where we live and work.

Please note: photos of the greenway, a map and greenway illustration are available electronically or by contacting the individual below. This media release and fact sheets about The Vancity Award and B.E.S.T. are available at More information about B.E.S.T. and the greenway are also available