Two of the three sections of the Cowichan Valley Trail between Lake Cowichan and North Cowichan that were closed last November after being washed out in the major flooding event that struck the area are expected to reopen this fall.
Ryan Dias, the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s assistant manager of parks operations, said that pending environmental approval, work to deal with the washout in the section of the trail between Paldi Road and Westwood Road, as well as from 7700 to 7750 Cowichan Lake Road, will proceed in the coming weeks.
He said the work will take place at the time of the year when the risk to fish and wildlife species and habitat is at its lowest.
“This work will re-establish continuity of the 26-km section of the Cowichan Valley Trail, linking the Town of Lake Cowichan to North Cowichan,” Dias said.
As for the section of the trail between the Sherman Road Trailhead to Agira Road, Dias said the remediation plans for that washout continue to proceed through the necessary stages of approval, and the CVRD is working with the Provincial Disaster Financial Assistance program to ensure a long-term solution is sought for this location.
“Given the complex nature of the repairs, a time frame indicating when the trail will be rebuilt cannot be provided at this time,” he said.
“In the meantime, trail users are to remain out of this hazardous area and are encouraged to use alternate trail heads for accessing the Cowichan Valley Trail. Thank you for your patience and understanding as the CVRD endeavours to deal with these significant washouts on the regional trail to re-establish connection between Lake Cowichan and North Cowichan.”
Shortly after the atmospheric river event on Nov. 15, 2021, Dias told the CVRD’s committee of the whole that the damage to parks and trails in the district from the flooding was probably the worst the district had ever seen.
He said there were 36 storm-related incidents documented due to the heavy rains at the time, including the three washouts on the Cowichan Valley Trail.
The closure sites were large-scale washouts ranging from 10 to 30 metres wide and five to 15 metres deep, and had a total combined length of two kilometres.