Design work begins on rail trail extension

NANAIMO – Stakeholders are continuing work to complete the section of the E&N Rail Trail that passes through Nanaimo.

Stakeholders are continuing work to complete the section of the E&N Rail Trail that passes through Nanaimo.

In March 2014, city council supported the development of the E&N Trail south from the downtown train station to Seventh Street by 2019. The city is currently undertaking preliminary design for routing work and cost estimates, according to Tom Hickey, City of Nanaimo general manager of community services.

“Along that trail corridor, there are several railroad crossings and intersections and so we need to work through that and get a better sense of what’s required at each of those areas, or what alternate routes might be,” Hickey said.

The City of Nanaimo agreed to match up to $100,000 of money raised by the Nanaimo Region Rail Trail Partnership, a collective of community groups dedicated to moving the trail forward, and commit $50,000 for the design work. The partnership contributed $25,000, while the Regional District of Nanaimo pledged $300,000.

Andre Sullivan, rail trail partnership chairman, estimated it will take about $2 million to complete the section.

“With our money in there, we’re not quite halfway there, so this is going to require grants of some sort, whether that’s provincial or federal and there is a lot out there. There are cycling grants, there’s all that out there. Now that we’ve got money kind of in the bank … it’s time to ask for those bigger sums,” said Sullivan.

Hickey said the aim is to make a presentation to city council in early May.

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