A second section of the Rail with Trail path along the E&N rail corridor from Cumberland Road to 17th Street is complete, providing a key route for pedestrians and cyclists in the Comox Valley.
The first phase of the Rotary Trail from Fifth Street to the train station was completed in 2011. The trail length now exceeds one kilometre.
The Courtenay Rotary Club provided funding for both phases of the project, raising upwards of $100,000 at its past two auctions.
“We started this in past president Robert Buckley’s year, we carried it on this year and we’re doing it again next year,” club president Rod Hunter said at a Friday announcement at the train station. “We really believe in community projects. This trail is just one of the things we love to do.”
Total cost of the first two phases of the pathway is $270,000. The federal government through the Gas Tax Fund, the City of Courtenay and Rotary have each contributed one-third of the cost.
“I think it’s a great project for quality of life,” Vancouver Island North MP John Duncan said. “It’s an asset for the community. There’s an appetite from the public. They like these trails.”
Noting recent discussion about bicycle infrastructure in the Valley, Mayor Larry Jangula said the Rotary Trail is likely the safest location for those opting to travel on two wheels.
“You can’t make any city street 100 per cent safe,” he said. “This is as close to 100 per cent as you can get.”
The Island Corridor Foundation, owner of the E&N rail corridor, has set a goal to expand multi-purpose use within the corridor. It is working with local governments along the corridor to develop similar projects.
A Saturday work party will officially open Phase 2 of the trail. Phase 3 will run from 17th to 29th. It is expected to be finished next year.