Touted as a potential tourism generator, the grand opening of a 26 kilometre section of the Trans Canada Trail beginning in Lake Cowichan was celebrated, Thursday, June 9.
“It’s a connecting trail from Lake Cowichan into the core community, and the work that has been done on this trail has been phenomenal,” CVRD chair Gerry Giles said, during the opening ceremony. “Not only for the people in the area, but for visitors.”
Town of Lake Cowichan councillor Bob Day said that he’s already experienced the trail, having walked down it from Duncan while training for last year’s Great Lake Walk.
“I’ve seen it come from a mud path, which I seldom walked on, to this, which anyone can walk on,” he said. In a world where we try to get rid of greenhouse gasses, it’s better to spend money on trails than roads.”
The project came at a cost of approximately $700,000, of which about $400,000 came from the Trans Canada Trail organization, and $300,000 came from the Island Coastal Economic Trust, and the CVRD Regional Parks Program.
Hence forth, the trail’s maintenance will be covered by the CVRD.
Trail work began in early 2010, and finished in March of this year. Trans Canada Trail representative Deborah Epps said that the ultimate goal is to complete the entire Trans Canada project by 2017, in time for the 150th anniversary of confederation.
“The connection of our people across the country, of people that love their country,” she said, of the trail, which links to another section south of the Cowichan River.
“You’ve just added greatly to the work that needs to be done. It doesn’t happen at a national level. It happens at the ground.”
“We believe this will be a year-round attraction for Vancouver Island,” CVRD manager of parks and trails Brian Farquhar said, after the grand opening speeches. ”It’s all about connecting communities.”
There are many possibilities for business along the trail, he said, including bed and breakfasts, recreational tourism, wineries, and artisans, among other things.