View from the new stairs being built on the Canyon View Trail down to the lookout area where the old powerhouse once stood and the Campbell River. The Canyon View Trail loop may open through this area in mid-December. BC Hydro photo

Campbell River’s Canyon View Trail loop planned for opening in mid-December

Campbell River trail users were hopeful the Canyon View Trail loop may re-open around the end of October though that opening has now been moved out to around mid-December, and that timing will dependent on weather.

“We know how important the trail is to the community and once opened up, it will be a real community asset for many years to come,” said BC Hydro’s Stephen Watson. “People are eager to have that trail loop back in place, and we’re sorry it’s taking longer than originally planned. This project is really like two projects in one, with the new underground hydroelectric facility and then the removal of the old above-ground facility that essentially started last January.”

BC Hydro project contractor, InPower BC, has about 35-40 people working on the John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project’s final components. For the public, the remaining component of interest is the re-opening of the Canyon View Trail loop through BC Hydro’s property. The trail provides for a scenic walk up and down either side of the Campbell River and generally takes about an hour.

“We’ve completed modifications to our Canyon View Trail parking lot by the river, mainly moving the trail along the outer edge of the lot near the river so people don’t have to walk or jog through the middle of it, providing visual and safety improvements.”

Improvements also include the old John Hart road entrance sign that was refurbished by School District 72 students and now stands by the parking lot trailhead. A kiosk sign with two new interpretive panels was placed on the trail from the now-decommissioned and permanently closed Station View Trail and the old sign kiosk shelter with a river lookout also has two new interpretive panels.

The work to connect the upper portion of the new Canyon View Trail is also complete, and the stairway that will connect it to the lower lookout area and top trail is nearing completion. There is still work to do on paving, slope stabilization, fence installation and the new interpretive lookout. The revised Canyon View Trail will pass through the old powerhouse area and include a large lookout area of the river, and feature five large interpretive panels and two totems from the We Wai Kai Nation and Wei Wai Kum Nation.

“Once the trail is reopened it will provide comprehensive connections with the interconnecting trails in and around the Elk Falls suspension bridge, our Campbell River Hydroelectric Facilities Discovery Centre, and the river downstream,” said Watson. “It’s all a big and positive change from what the area trail system was like prior to project construction in 2013.”

Trail users along the lower river system will also notice, in about a month’s time, the replacement of the yellow siren safety signs with new and improved white and red signs.

The overall John Hart project remains on budget.