A look at the proposed trail (in purple) along the old rail lines that could link Parksville with French Creek and Coombs

A look at the proposed trail (in purple) along the old rail lines that could link Parksville with French Creek and Coombs

Linking Parksville to French Creek and Coombs

Learn more about this proposed trail project at a meeting Oct. 9 at Oceanside Place in Parksville

The public is invited to hear details about the local portion of an ambitious Island E&N Rail-with-Trail project.

In 2009, the Regional District of Nanaimo did a feasibility study and partnered with other regional districts, the Island Corridor Foundation and Southern Railway to begin developing a network of trails adjacent to railways across the south Island.

With $2.6 million in funding support through the Federal Government’s Gas Tax Fund, the RDN is now beginning work with Koers Engineering to design the first 10-km section along the railway from Parksville to Coombs and French Creek.

Portions have already been completed in Nanaimo, Lantzville and Chemainus.

About 83 kilometres of feasible rail trail corridor was identified in the RDN, excluding Nanaimo, at a total estimated cost of $28.7 million.

Working with the other regional districts, they have developed design guidelines for rural, suburban and urban trails which they will use for the local planning process, with design planned to wrap up in January 2015 and phased construction likely beginning in the spring/summer of 2015.

RDN parks staff and consultants invite the public to drop in to learn more and see preliminary plans from 5-8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 9 in the multi-purpose room at Oceanside Place, at Wembley Mall in Parksville.

Visit www.rdn.bc.ca/cms.asp?wpID=3195 for more information.