What will happen to the graffiti fence at the top of the big hill?

At no time during the route planning process for the cross island trail has removal of the graffiti fence been discussed or contemplated.

The CVRD does not intend to remove the existing graffiti fence as there is sufficient width in the road right of way for both the fence and the cross island trail. The first two to three panels of fence section will have to be moved back from the road a few feet to accommodate the trail. The fence supports will also need to be strengthened.

How is the project funded?

The first section of the trail through the village was funded from a combination of the Denman/Hornby Islands parks and greenways service (residential tax levy), the community works fund (federal gas tax funding) and a small grant from the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.

The next section from the top of the big hill to Central Park (and further if there are sufficient funds) will be funded entirely from the community works fund (federal gas tax funding).

What was discussed at the first community open house on the cross-island trail?

The CVRD hosted a community open house to get feedback on the proposed route and trail design on Wednesday, January 16, 2013. Over 90 people attended the meeting, viewed the panels and/or the presentations and participated in the discussions.

Below is the information provided at the open house and the written public comments received:

A majority of those who provided written comments agree with the route that was presented at the open house. A majority also agree with the proposed trail design and accommodating as broad a range of users as possible. A number want the trail to be narrower and several have concerns whether the trail could accommodate horses without making it too rough for other users. Most agree with prioritizing the first four trail sections, Denman village, the ferry hill, the Denman Road big hill and the big hill to Central Park. After Central Park, a few residents prefer that the trail not follow the unconstructed portion of the Corrigal Road right-of-way and a few residents do not wish to see it go along East Road between Owl Crescent and the Hornby ferry but follow a more interior route.

For a more complete summary of comments, emails and letters received, please see the PDF documents above.

Why a cross-island trail?

The Denman cross-island trail was identified as top priority for the CVRD to pursue during the 2010-2011 planning process for the Denman Island Parks and Greenways Master Plan.

The intent for the cross-island trail is to provide a safe route for pedestrians, cyclists and horseback riders to travel across the island and to connect key amenities such as the village, Central Park, the Old School, Cable Beach and the two ferry terminals.

What is the proposed route and trail width?

The intent for the cross-island trail is to provide a safe route for pedestrians, cyclists and horseback riders to travel across the island and to connect key amenities such as the village, Central Park, the Old School, Cable Beach and the two ferry terminals.

What is the proposed route and trail width?

For most of its length, the proposed trail route follows Denman and East roads and runs alongside the existing road system. The proposal is to divert the trail for a short stretch along Corrigal Road and an unopened road allowance that links to Mallard Way and from there to Owl Crescent and back to East Road. Where it runs alongside the road and where the right-of-way width permits, the trail will be separated from the road pavement by a 0.30 – 2 m wide vegetated strip.  The trail is proposed to be 2 metres wide for most of the distance; however, it may narrow in sections to accommodate an adjacent dirt path for horses or where difficult terrain limits the width. The goal is to have the least road crossings possible and keep the trail a constant width.

Why is the trail proposed to go along Denman and East roads?

From October 2011 to October 2012, CVRD staff worked with the Denman Island Trails Committee, a volunteer committee of the Denman Island Residents Association (DIRA), to review the feasibility of a trail along two possible corridors – the Lacon-McFarlane Road right-of-way and the Denman-East Road right-of-way.

Trails Committee members volunteered their time to walk the two corridors to identify difficult and easy sections. In spring 2012, the Committee presented their recommendation – a multi-use trail along Denman and East Road – to DIRA and to the CVRD for their endorsement.

Considerations that lead to identifying the proposed route, are:

  • Both possible routes present challenges and have pinch points but much of the Denman-East Road route is technically easier.
  • The Denman-East Road route serves both tourists commuting from one ferry terminal to the other and Denman Island residents since it will connect many of the places Denman Island residents frequent. Specifically, the trail will connect the following places: Central Park, East Road beach accesses, fire-hall and ambulance station, the Chocolate Factory, the church and the Old School which includes the Free Store, Saturday Market and Recycling Centre, the Local Trust Office, Denman Conservancy Room and the Denman Weavers and Spinners.
  • The route links to Fillongley Park, Graham Lake and Cable Beach.
  • The route has less heavy commercial traffic (some trucks avoid the big hill) which enhances travel safety and enjoyment.
  • The route represents the least environmental impact (e.g. it avoids Morrison marsh and wetlands) while providing more travel vistas.
  • The route allows the most consistent pathway separation from the traveled portion of the road and the lesser number of required crossings.
  • A multi-use trail within the Denman–East Road corridor will provide a future part of any North-South trail on Denman providing links to both Swan Road and the new Northlands Park area.

How does the trail relate to the Denman Official Community Plan?

The Denman Island official community plan (OCP) bylaw no. 185 supports trails within Denman's road rights of way and encourages alternative methods of transportation.

The guiding objective on transportation and utilities is "to maintain safe, tranquil, scenic roads, to maintain adequate ferry service to Vancouver Island, and to encourage walking and cycling on Island roads and ferries." The guiding objective for the village is "to retain the Village area as the commercial and cultural heart of the island, and make this area safe, convenient and friendly by including such amenities as pathways, a village square and open spaces."

Further, climate change adaptation and mitigation policy 13 (f) of the Denman OCP, states that "the Local Trust Committee should work with the community to investigate a range of alternative transportation options, including a system of trails for safe travel by foot, bicycle and horse; approved use of electric vehicles; and carpooling and rideshares. It is noted that these actions will require liaison with other agencies."

Transportation and utility policy 9 states that "When planning new roads, landowners are encouraged to locate the road to one side of the right of way and when constructing new roads, to construct a trail separate from the road surface suitable for pedestrians and other non-motorized forms of transportation."

Transportation and utility policies 14 and 15 state: "A trail system that provides a safe and inviting link between neighbourhoods and destination points should be supported. Wherever desirable, trails should be dedicated as parkland at the time of subdivision" and "The development of trails along new and existing roads in the road right-of-way should be supported as a means of providing safe non-vehicular access on Denman Island. A trail system should be constructed that is safe and inviting, that parallels existing and new roads and that does not alter the rural character of the road."

Has the CVRD considered widening the road shoulders to better accommodate cyclists?

Roads on Denman Island are the responsibility of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. The CVRD cannot widen and pave road shoulders. The CVRD board has sent a formal letter to the Ministry requesting that the necessary road repairs to the ferry hill and the Denman big hill are made to allow the CVRD to add a multi-use trail. The CVRD will continue to encourage the Ministry to budget for and complete the necessary road repairs so a trail can be added alongside the two hills. If island residents feel strongly about road shoulders for cyclists, they are encouraged to approach the Ministry directly.

In the meanwhile, the CVRD is trying to capture the biggest possible range of users with the trail and will provide a surface that will work for pedestrians, horses and recreational cyclists. It is acknowledged that sport/road cyclists will likely prefer to continue to ride on the paved road surface.

Background Information

Staff reports to the CVRD electoral areas services committee on the cross island trail:
• May 7, 2012 staff report [PDF - 197 KB]
• March 11, 2013 staff report [PDF - 121 KB]

For more information
, contact the CVRD parks planner, Karin Albert, at 250-334-6000 or kalbert@comoxvalleyrd.ca