A new, 1.6-kilometre multi-use trail along the Trans-Canada Highway near the BC Forest Discovery Centre is not expected to happen anytime soon.
North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure said after a long discussion with David Conway, the municipality’s director of engineering, he decided not to bring the issue back to council for reconsideration at its meeting on Aug. 15.
“The lowest tender we had received for the work to build the trail was still quite high, so, as well as considering what was involved to perform the work in the time required and the availability of the grant, we decided it was too difficult to proceed at this time,” Lefebure said.
Lefebure had intended to bring the issue back to council for reconsideration after council decided on June 20 to cancel the tender process for the construction of the trail in 2018 due to a shortfall of $334,100 for a project that was originally budgeted to cost $972,000.
The province’s BikeBC Fund announced last year that North Cowichan would receive $472,000 to expand cycling lanes, and the funding was expected to cover almost half the costs of the trail, with North Cowichan picking up the rest of the bill. The new trail would have run from the Dike Trail Terminus to Drinkwater Road East, and was intended to create a safe cycling and pedestrian connection along the highway. Council decided to cancel the tender process for the project in the 2018 budget due to the cost overruns, and staff were directed at the time to prepare recommendations on other bike network projects for council to consider in 2018. In his decision two week ago to have council take a second look at the trail project, Lefebure said that with the new hospital to be built in the nearby Bell McKinnon Road area, and with the growing demand for more trails in the community, he didn’t want the decision not to move forward with the trail to be something council would regret at a later date.