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Washout on Cowichan Valley Trail raises safety concerns

CVRD says it’s working to fix it
Safety concerns are being raised about this section of the Cowichan Valley Trail over Bings Creek that was washed out in the atmospheric river event in November, 2021. (Gary McLellan photo)

Gary McLellan wants to know when a large section of the Cowichan Valley Trail over Bings Creek that was washed out during the atmospheric river event in November, 2021, will be repaired.

McLellan, who lives in the area, used to regularly walk on the trail, but has been prevented from doing so for more than a year due to the approximately 40 metres of trail that was washed away during the heavy rain event.

But he said he’s mostly concerned with danger the washout poses for children who use that section of trail to get to and from their schools, and others who may try to make their way through the area.


“A lot of trees and other debris have fallen into the large hole, making it dangerous for anybody trying to make their way through to the other side of the trail,” McLellan said.

“The Cowichan Valley Regional District put up a chain-link fence in front of the washout to keep people out, but someone in a vehicle went on the trail and smashed through it and left the fence and gate all twisted up along the trail.”

McLellan said he has been in contact with the CVRD several times on the issue over the past year, and was told that the section of trail is hard to remediate as the district manages a three-metre wide trail within property owned by the Island Corridor Foundation, while the creek is managed by the Ministry of Environment.

In addition, McLellan was told that any impacts to fish in the creek are managed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

But he was assured by the CVRD’s parks and trails division that the district is continuing to work to get approvals from all the stakeholders to have the trail repaired.

In a statement, the CVRD said the trail washout near Bings Creek remains the only section of the Cowichan Valley Trail the CVRD has not as yet re-opened, while several other smaller washouts along the CVT during the rainfall event in 2021 were repaired and re-opened to trail users in 2022.

The statement said that, in addition to the loss of a section of the regional trail at Bings Creek, the washout also exposed a buried Telus communications cable and waterline supply to the City of Duncan at the site.


“The CVRD took the lead following the washout to initiate engineering and environmental assessments to determine feasible approaches to re-establish the regional trail over Bings Creek, inclusive of also addressing the exposed infrastructure,” the CVRD said.

“This work continues to proceed through the application and review stages necessary to secure both the regulatory approvals and support through the provincial disaster financial assistance program, which the district has applied for funding to undertake a storm impact restoration project of this magnitude.”

The CVRD said the extended time frame for this process is understandable, given the number of communities across southern B.C., as well as provincial ministries, which continue to recover and rebuild public infrastructure damaged from storm events in 2021, as well as other natural disasters that have impacted communities across the province in recent years.

“In the interim, the CVRD continues to maintain hazard warning signage and fencing to keep the public out of the impacted section of the Cowichan Valley Trail between Agira Road and Sherman Road, with posted information on alternative routes for pedestrians and cyclists to use pending decisions and actions to re-establish the regional trail,” the district said.

As for the recent vandalism to the temporary trail fencing noted by McLellan, the CVRD said this has been addressed through the district’s fencing contractor who completed the installation of new sections of the fence that’s in place.

Members of the public are encouraged to contact the CVRD with any safety or vandalism concerns and updates about the CVT at