March 30, 2023
The Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) has completed design work for a 3.5 km section of the Denman Cross Island Trail between Owl Crescent and the Gravelly Bay ferry terminal along East Road on Denman Island. Construction for this section is set to begin in fall 2023.
- Trail Design - Owl Crescent to Gravelly Bay
- News Release: Update - Denman Cross-Island Trail Construction
This 3.5 km section will consist of a 2.2 metre-wide gravel trail built within the East Road dedication. A permit has been obtained from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for the construction and maintenance of the trail within the road allowance. The trail was designed to minimize tree removal and ecological impacts, however due to limited space within the road allowance, a total of 12 trees will need to be removed for this project. The CVRD is committed to preserving natural landscapes, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by replanting trees and shrubbery annually, and providing safe active transportation methods throughout communities.
This trail construction project was made possible because of funding from a B.C. Active Transportation Infrastructure grant and Community Works funding. The CVRD anticipates this project to be tendered as a public bid process in spring of 2023.
Planning for the Denman Cross-Island Trail began in earnest in 2011. The first phase of the planning process involved discussions between the CVRD and the Denman Island Residents Association. These discussions, which occurred during 2011 and 2012, focused on high level route planning; determining the feasibility of constructing a ferry-to-ferry trail; and formulating a general trail alignment to present to the community for feedback. In 2013 a public open house was held to gather community input on the project. A second open house was held in 2014 to generate feedback on trail design and next steps.
To date, approximately 5 kilometres of trail has been constructed consisting of a mix of forested and open trail.
In 2017, the most recent section of the trail was completed. This section runs from Swan Road to Corrigal Road along Denman Road and East Road and creates a safe multi-use path away from the East Road corner. With this new section of trail, the trail is now complete from the Village centre to Corrigal Road, aside from the steep Denman Road hill section. Users will find that the newest section of trail uses a finer surfacing material which creates a smoother surface for cyclists, pedestrians and horses.
In September 2019, the CVRD received feedback at the farmer's market from residents and visitors. For more information on what was discussed and received from the public, More information on what was discussed and received from the public can be found here: 2018 presentation boards and 2019 presentation boards.
The newest section of the Denman Cross-Island Trail, the Kirk Road Stairs and Trail, is now complete and open. The stairs provide another beach access option on the west side of the Island and provide safe passage for pedestrians to the Denman West Ferry Terminal. Cyclists heading to and from the Denman West Ferry Terminal will still need to use Denman Road to join up with the existing section of the trail beginning in front of the Denman Arts Centre.
Following feedback gathered from the September 2018 public survey, the CVRD used the survey results to plan and prioritize next steps for the Cross-Island Trail project. The 2019 open house functioned to inform Denman Island residents of upcoming surveying and construction for the next segments of the Cross-Island Trail as well as to bring attention to other recently completed CVRD projects on Denman Island. Results from the 2018 public consultation initiatives are available for review here: Denman Cross Island Trail Survey Results.
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:
- Open house panels 1 - 5
- Open house panels 6 -11
- Summary of comment forms received
- Compilation of comment forms received
- Compilation of emails and letters 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.
The CVRD held an open house on June 3, 2014 at the Denman Community Hall to gather feedback on trail design. Below are the panels presented at this open house:
Frequently Asked Questions
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), Community Works funds (federal gas taxes) 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).
The newly designed portion (fall 2023 construction) was made possible because of funding from a B.C. Active Transportation Infrastructure grant and the federal Community Works program.
The Denman Cross-Island Trail was identified as a 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.
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.
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.
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.