Cyclist wants Columbia Beach access upgraded

An avid cyclist wants a Columbia Beach route improved to make it safer to use for cyclists.

Len Gibson, who leads a senior cycling group, said they frequently use the route located behind the French Creek Home Hardware Builders Supply in French Creek that links Dalmation Drive and Sumar Lane.

The surface of the route is made out of gravel, consisting of large rounded stone that Gibson indicated is one of the worst possible materials for any level of cyclist to negotiate.

Gibson has made the Regional District of Nanaimo aware of this issue and has asked the district to look at options to make it safer and comfortable for cyclists and users of medi-scooters.

In his letter to the RDN, Gibson said the connector is frequently used by cyclists to avoid cycling on Highway 19A.

“What the cycling community need is a simple sidewalk width paved connector,” said Gibson.

Area G’s Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee had reviewed the issue and concluded it was not a priority project as they felt the existing gravel surface is only an issue with road cyclists but is fine with everyone else.

Gibson did not agree and believes the “existing pathway is a hazard for cycling stability no matter the capability of normal bicycle tire.”

“I regularly lead a senior cycling group through this route on a year round basis and in doing so meet other cyclists on ‘comfort’ bikes the instability of the surface is often a discussion topic,” Gibson told the RDN.

Paving the surface would be ideal, said Gibson but they would accept a strip of gravel surface using road crush or paving mix, or the same material that was used on the new Parksville to Coombs trail. That would suffice, Gibson stressed.

Staff was directed to review the route with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and to report with costs for surfacing options.

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