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RDN finalizes license of use agreements on Witchcraft Lake trail

Recreational trail users have an official route to access Mount Benson Regional Park, now that the Regional District of Nanaimo has finalized license of use agreements with the province and City of Nanaimo.

The agreements, which were finalized in the fall, include approval for designated routes on the VIU woodlot, undeveloped road allowance at Harrow Road, as well as land at Witchcraft Lake.

“We have our official route worked out,” said Joan Michel, RDN parks and trails coordinator. “The basic kiosk is there, we just have to get the content into it, which will be happening this spring.”

She added that proper signage is scheduled to be installed along the route for spring or summer.

The trail project has been more than two years in the making. In 2009, the management plan for Mount Benson Regional Park called for a primary trail route to access Witchcraft Lake, which is owned by the city.

In 2010, the district received permission from Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to create a parking and staging area at the site on Benson View Road. The district and the city then worked together to build a floating boardwalk and pedestrian trail in 2010.

Doing so allowed users to access Mount Benson Regional Park without passing through privately owned lands. With the infrastructure in place, the district then need to obtain the license of use agreements with the City of Nanaimo for use of the land as a regional trail, as well as approvals from the province to classify a portion of the trail passing through the VIU Woodlot through a Section 56 application process, and obtain a permit for a section of the trail situated on undeveloped road allowance on Harrow Road.

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