MOBERLY LAKE, B.C. – Saulteau First Nations is receiving $20,000 through B.C.’s Vision Zero initiative to install more road signage in the community.

According to a release, Saulteau has been focusing on creating public gatherings to “enrich social interaction and encourage healthy lifestyles” and plans on utilizing the funding to increase the safety of outdoor gathering spaces, parks and playgrounds.

In total, Vision Zero provides up to $575,000 to organizations to support local road safety improvements, with organizations receiving up to $20,000 per project, the province said.

This year, 37 projects were approved throughout the province, which is a first because, in the past, funding through the program was only provided to communities in Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health.

Of the approved projects this year, 16 are in indigenous communities, according to the province.

“A healthy community is one that offers opportunities for physical fitness, recreation and safety for all residents,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.

“That’s why we are aware of the challenges associated with vehicle traffic, including access to sidewalks and pathways, and are making an effort to improve visibility and mobility access to neighbourhoods in communities provincewide. I’m proud to see that 73 per cent of organizations that applied for a Vision Zero grant were approved, and for Indigenous communities that applied for a grant, 100 per cent of applicants were approved.”

Projects can include improvements such as crosswalk infrastructure, closed streets, traffic calming, speed limit reduction pilots, walk signals that give a head start to pedestrians, speed reader boards, mixed use paths, better lighting and signage, and road safety planning.

Through the program, the province hopes to address the traffic injuries in vulnerable communities and Indigenous communities, reduce the impacts on the healthcare system, build capacity in the public health system, and support low carbon forms of transportation.

Vision Zero originated in the Netherlands and Sweden in the 1990s to eliminate deaths and serious injuries from road transport and is used as an international best practice.