Residents of Cowichan Bay plan to protest the expected closure of a popular walking trail in the community.
Lori Iannidinardo, Cowichan Bay’s director with the Cowichan Valley Regional District, said the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure plans to close and dig up the Kingscote Heritage Trail on Oct. 29 to allow for drainage from a nearby subdivision.
She said the trail, about three city blocks long and located in the centre of the community off of Cowichan Bay Road, is owned by the ministry.
But the ministry allowed the CVRD to lease the undeveloped trail, that had been in use for years, to upgrade it for community use in 2007.
Iannidinardo said that, since then, a subdivision has been constructed adjacent to the trail without proper drainage and now, because drainage from the subdivision onto the trail is the ministry’s responsibility, it is stepping in to deal with the problem.
“We’ve tried working with the ministry to maintain the trail, and we offered to cost share the drainage project, which is about $100,000, to keep the trail in place, but the ministry refused,” Iannidinardo said.
“They are now coming on Monday to close the trail and dig it up for the drainage project, and they are not planning to reopen it.”
Iannidinardo said the trail is extensively used by members of the community to connect them with other parts of Cowichan Bay, for kids to go to and from schools, and just to walk or bike.
“The trail is near and dear to this community, and many of us will be there on Monday to protest its closure,” she said.
“We’re very passionate about this, and we’ll be there to show the ministry that this trail is very valuable to our community.”
Ministry officials could not be reached for comment by press time.