All aboard! A second stretch of the Rotary Trail alongside the rail tracks through Courtenay is about to leave the station.

The new section will run from


alongside the train station parking lot at Cumberland Road along to 17th Street, extending the route created last year that currently starts at Fifth Street.

City Hall has set a deadline of 2 p.m. Tuesday (July 31) for contractors to present proposals to supply the materials and construct the second phase of the trail.

The municipality’s director of community services, Randy Wiwchar, said the intention was to make a quick start on the project.

He hoped the chosen contractor could be mobilized within a couple of weeks, with the pedestrian/cycling route established by late September or early October.

The first visible signs of the upcoming work could be seen on Cumberland Road this week, where a new crosswalk was being painted and signs erected to link the old and new sections of the trail.

The City is funding the project in partnership with Courtenay Rotary Club, and in cooperation with the Island Corridor Foundation, which owns the railway land.

Rotarians have already raised substantial funds running to thousands of dollars towards the second phase costs, Wiwchar noted. They carried out similar fundraising for the first phase.

“When phase two is complete, it will give a very substantial and very useful length of trail between Fifth and 17th,” he added.

The eventual aim is to see two more sections created in future years, the first taking the trail from 17th to 26th Street and then another running from there as far as Fraser Road. However, at this stage there is no budget commitment for those additional phases.

But if all four sections were to be completed, it would create a safe north-south route of almost 4 kms right through the western half of the city, potentially linking up with further trails at either end.

While the creation of the physical trail through the heart of west Courtenay is the core of the project, once that ‘spine’ is established, the City’s intention is to partner with community groups and individuals to enhance the route with benches, additional planting, and features such as heritage signs at appropriate locations.

By Philip Round - Comox Valley Echo