Highways Minister says her mandate includes building corridors like the delayed Village Way Trail

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, June 5 2018

Claire Trevena, Minister for Transportation and Infrastructure, said this past week that she is committed to building active transportation corridors for cyclists and pedestrians - such as long-delayed Village Way Trail.

The Trail is a proposed path, to the side of North Road, which would connect through the village core from the Post Office intersection to Tin Can Alley. 

Proponants say the trail is essential to ensure pedestrian safety in a village core which gets busier with permanent residents and visitors every year.

Trevena said such corridors are, “in my mandate letter - we’re looking at how we can take these kinds of ideas on and expand on them.

“I think this [the Village Way} is one example of an overdue trail, something the community needs, we’re just seeing how it hasn’t fit in in the past - and look at how these fit in.”

She cautioned that while the Ministry is looking at creative solutions to the issues facing the trail, “there are certain set standards - for safety - engineered standards.”

Working within those standards, she is hoping to use Gabriola to see how the local needs can be met.

Howard Houle, Gabriola Director for the Regional District of Nanaimo, said he brought up the most recent information he had obtained from RDN and MOTI staff - which is that the trail can have an asphalt curb now, rather than the concrete one previously proposed.

That curb would be on the side of the road, and then there would be a filled space between the curb and the edge of the path.

Houle said the fill would likely be granite findings.

Houle said the discussion is now around the width of the path.

MOTI wants 1.2m (48in) of pavement; the RDN is budgeting with the Gabriola Official community Plan which allows for the width to be only 0.9m (35in).

Houle said, “we want to shrink to 0.9, if they want it wider, they [MOTI] can pay for it.

“The last offer they [MOTI] had was to extend the shoulder, that was going to cost $1.4 million.”

Extending the shoulders of North Road has not been a preferred choice of the Village Way proponents - as it does not get pedestrians actually off the roadway, it just puts them on the  other side of a white line.

MOTI has a requirement where if one shoulder is widened, the other shoulder must be as well - if the trail is built as the RDN and trail supporters have suggested, it only has to be built off the road on one side of North Road.