Rails To Trails

RDN Regional Rail Trail

On January 15, 2014, the RDN announced that it had received close to $23 million from the federal Gas Tax Fund transfer to improve important services for residents and businesses across the District. Eight projects will benefit from federal Gas Tax Fund support in the coming year including the first phase of the E&N Regional Trail which has received $2.6 Million.  

The Alberni Highway to French Creek (Victoria Line) and Church Road to Coombs (Alberni Line) portions of the trail is the first part of the implementation plan and has an estimated cost of $2.6 million, with $100,000 allocated initially to produce detailed design work and information for proceeding to tender.

The project will provide a generally level and comfortable alternate transportation route suitable for use by a range of active transportation modes which will aid in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the region while promoting community connection and active living.

Vancouver Island Rail Trail

Coombs to Parksville to French Creek
The RDN is gearing up to begin planning our first sections of Rail Trail within the Esquimalt and Nanaimo (E&N) railway corridor. With $2.6 million in funding support through the Federal Government's Gas Tax Fund, the first sections of trail, totalling approximately 10km, will connect the City of Parksville with Coombs and with French Creek.

The E&N Trail has been a priority for development and is fast growing across the island as other regional districts and municipalities complete sections piece by piece. To date, the Capital Regional District, Cowichan Valley Regional District, City of Nanaimo, and District of Lantzville have all completed some rail with trail.

In 2009, the RDN undertook an E&N Rail-with-Trail Feasibility Study to assess potential trail development along the E&N rail corridor within Electoral Areas A, E, F, G, and H and the municipalities of Lantzville, Parksville and Qualicum Beach; the City of Nanaimo was not addressed as they had completed a separate study.
The degree of difficulty to develop trail was assessed and a cost per metre identified. Overall, about 83 kilometres of feasible rail trail corridor was identified in the RDN, not including Nanaimo, at an estimated total cost to develop of approximately $28.7 million.
Around the same time, the RDN partnered with the Capital Regional District, Cowichan Valley Regional District, Comox Valley Regional District, the Island Corridor Foundation and Southern Railway to develop Rail-with-Trail Design Guidelines. The guidelines address all aspects of trail development and establish rural, suburban and urban design guidelines. The Rail-with-Trail Design Guidelines were adopted by all parties in June 2009.

Current Planning
The RDN is currently seeking consulting services to perform necessary studies, survey work and detailed design for the trail project.
The RDN will be engaged with the community as this project unfolds. A public Open House will be planned for the fall of 2014, once preliminary design work has taken place. Once the design is complete, efforts will focus on construction.

Project Timeline
Trail planning and design may take up to a year, wrapping up in January 2015. A phased construction process for the trail will follow, likely beginning in the summer of 2015. 


Video on Nanaimo E&N Trail

Below is a link to the Shaw TV 3 min segment on the Nanaimo Rail Trail Partnership and on extending the E&N trail.
Feel free to share


Nanaimo Region Rail Trail Website

The Nanaimo Region Rail Trail Website is now up and running.
Click here for the link to the website


Tourism Nanaimo awards grant to rail trail idea

Work on a regional rail trail is gaining momentum thanks to a $20,000 funding injection from Tourism Nanaimo. The newly-formed Nanaimo Regional Rail Trail Partnership took the largest cut of new cash incentives announced by  the city’s independent tourism arm this week.
It is a big boon to the group, which now plans to start engineering work on a seamless city connector along the E&N railway. The rail trail partnership hopes the pathway can eventually link into a cross-Island network, helping to propel sports tourism on Vancouver Island.
“It will go into engineering and planning and with any luck, we can get shovels into the ground, too,” said Mike Delves, partnership director.

The dollars are part of the first wave of cash incentives from Tourism Nanaimo’s $125,000 development fund, which is aimed at growing ideas that boost overnight stays and help put the Harbour City on the map. A total of $38,000 was handed out this week to three organizations, including $5,000 for the Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre’s inaugural First Nations soccer tournament and $13,000 for a feasibility study into a new paddling centre by the Nanaimo Boathouse Society.
The rail trail group believes the ticket to boosting tourism is in attracting cyclists with a city-wide trail network. It has been collecting funding for construction over the past year and will now look at ways to connect sections of trail.

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