BC Hydro says they have some good plans for the Canyon View Trail besides having it re-established and open at the old powerhouse site by late summer.
Plans include not just the trail going back near the river on Hydro property, but also a nice lookout with interpretative panels and two totems.
“The Canyon View Trail was actually the top community point of interest or concern during our John Hart project planning process, and we’re quite excited for the community and those trail users about how this will all look when we’re finished,” said BC Hydro spokesperson. Stephen Watson. “The powerhouse is currently being removed down to the ground level, and then once done and along the front of it, there will be a nice lookout area for people to look downstream. Within the lookout there will also be five large interpretive panels to describe the facility and operations, fish, and First Nations, including the meaning behind the two new totems we’ll be receiving.”
The We Wai Kai Nation and Wei Wai Kum Nation are providing two totems within the lookout and they will be facing the river.
The trail will pass through a short-length fenced security corridor, where the old powerhouse once stood, to the foot of the hill of the old penstock corridor. From there it will go up some stairs before cutting across northward and above the new tunnel outlet area, and join into the existing Canyon View Trail.
“We’re also refreshing the area around the public parking lot by the river, and the trail to the old powerhouse area,” said Watson. “That includes wayward signage such as maps, and more interpretive panels within a new and an existing kiosk.”
The section of the Canyon View Trail, which was re-routed to the temporary Station View Trail, that went past the three John Hart surge towers continues to be closed off as work advances in removing the old above-ground hydroelectric facility. People can continue to walk the trail up or down either side of the Campbell River. The Station View Trail will be decommissioned, as originally planned, this fall.
BC Hydro is also looking at restoring public river access near the old powerhouse outlets, on the right bank of the river. That public access may be re-established by early fall 2019. Originally, people could enter the river near the entrance to the canyon, off a rock outcrop, just upstream of the old powerhouse. Watson noted that there will be no swimming or tubing allowed in the area of the old powerhouse because of safety risks from the six old draft tubes and the downstream rocks on the right bank of the river, and to lessen the disturbance to salmon habitat as the old powerhouse discharge area will likely be a calm holding area for salmon during the summer.
Watson says Hydro has been consulting about the trails and river access with First Nations, and working with the two-dozen member Campbell River Hydroelectric Facilities Liaison Committee, including representatives from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, City of Campbell River, Greenways Land Trust, Campbell River Environmental Committee, to Destiny River Adventures.
Questions about the trail can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.