Royston Waterfront Trail

The Comox Valley Regional District is planning to reconstruct the trail along the Royston foreshore that runs along the former Comox Logging railway grade and is accessed from the end of Hilton Road.

Waves have eroded away sections of the old grade. Winter storms have dislodged rock fill, leaving sink holes and exposing log cribbing. The trail was closed by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, who owns the right-of-way, in 2008.

The trail is proposed to be routed further inland in some sections to follow the historic natural boundary to ensure long term stability and protection from erosion and to comply with the CVRD's foreshore protection development permit.

Key considerations for trail alignment are:

  • Compliance with the CVRD's foreshore protection development permit bylaw.  Under the bylaw, the CVRD (or any other applicant) cannot place hardshore armouring (rock riprap or a seawall) along the foreshore unless  required to protect a building or structure.  To protect the trail, the CVRD can use soft shore protection (placing and anchoring of logs and planting dune grass and other vegetation to retain the soil).  
  • The trail needs to be located at the level of the former railway grade or slightly higher to avoid overtopping of the trail when high tides and storm surges coincide.  That is a height of 1 metre above the highest high tide. 
  • The current trail is largely on fill that was placed in the high intertidal area to create the railway grade.  The creation of the grade and digging out of materials to build it up has resulted in two back sloughs – one close to Hilton Road and one at the Thomson Road right-of-way.  The most durable long term erosion protection is to retreat to the historic natural boundary of 1913 since natural processes are likely forcing the top of bank back to the original natural boundary line.  

View the detailed design drawings [PDF - 2 MB]

View the staff report for the Royston Trail alighnment April 19, 2013 [PDF - 339 KB]

Background Information

In March 2012, the regional district received a grant from the Province of BC to help fund the re-construction of the trail within the railway right of way. The CVRD hired ISL Engineering and Land Services Ltd. and Aquaparian Environmental Consulting Ltd. to assess the trail corridor and gather information on foreshore and marine habitat, the extent of the erosion and required stream and ditch crossings.  Based on their findings, the consulting team has prepared conceptual design drawings with proposed foreshore erosion protection and trail routing options.

Public Open House

The conceptual design drawings were presented for comment at a public open house on Wednesday, October 24. The open house was attended by over 100 local residents.

Following is the information that was presented at the open house:

Royston trail project summary  [PDF - 120 KB]
Site history  [PDF - 101 KB]
Foreshore dynamics  [PDF - 107 KB]
Biology of the area  [PDF - 119 KB]
Site conditions  [PDF - 113 KB]
Project concepts  [PDF - 227 KB]

Design details:

Open lawn area  [PDF - 510 KB]
Footbridge and gardens section  [PDF - 509 KB]
Slough area – widen existing trail  [PDF - 590 KB]
Slough area – terrace beach  [PDF - 592 KB]
Slough area – low slope beach  [PDF - 579 KB]
Slough area – trail around slough  [PDF - 568 KB]
Slough to end of trail at Lince Road  [PDF - 667 KB]
Next steps  [PDF - 92 KB]

Thirty-six residents submitted comments following the open house.  Of those, 26 expressed their support for the trail and concepts presented, 3 were opposed to the trail and 6 expressed reservations about some aspects such as garbage, vandalism or routing the trail behind the slough.

View the compilation of public comments [PDF - 227 KB] received

For further information on the project, contact Karin Albert, parks planner, at 250-334-6000.