A revamped link between Shawnigan Lake and Lake Cowichan could be coming in the form of a new Holt Creek Bridge, part of both the Cowichan Valley Trail and the Great Trail of Canada.
The Great Trail, also known as the Trans Canada Trail, is a 27,000-kilometre, cross-country network of land and water routes begun in 1992.
The Holt Creek structure — northwest of the Kinsol Trestle near Glenora Trails Head Park — opened in 1922 as a railway bridge and was transferred to provincial ownership by CN Rail in 1991.
A 2018 report by the Cowichan Valley Regional District said there were close to 26,000 visits to the park each year.
A structural assessment in 2017 determined the bridge was close to the end of its lifespan and should be replaced rather than constantly repaired. It was closed for a time in 2017-18 for rehabilitation work. Railings have been in place since 2002.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has proposed that it be replaced with a new wooden bridge on a steel frame, to serve hikers, cyclists and horse riders as part of the provincial Active Transportation Strategy.
Among the benefits from the bridge project would be the removal of creosote-soaked timbers, the establishment of a clearer stream channel and the planting of native vegetation.
Dave Rife of Cowichan Hikers said he’ll spread the word about the proposal to members. He has an email list for the group with about 150 names.
“We definitely hike by there from time to time, that’s for sure,” Rife said. “If it’s on the Trans Canada Trail it’s obviously very important.”
An information session will be held Monday at Duncan’s Cowichan Community Centre at 2687 James St. from 7-9 p.m. Ministry staff will be on hand to answer questions.
Detailed design work could start in the summer, followed by funding approval in the fall and construction starting before the end of the year.
No cost estimate has been determined.
>>> To comment on this article, write a letter to the editor: firstname.lastname@example.org