Connections through View Royal are becoming more plentiful these days.
The latest link between sections of the town was dedicated Friday behind Shoreline Community Middle School. Appropriately named the Shoreline Trail, the pathway not only provides a more direct and natural pedestrian route up to Island Highway and the E&N Rail Trail, it’s giving the school a safe path for students to use for their physical education classes.
“It’s a huge achievement,” said View Royal Coun. John Rogers, who guided the project from the Town’s perspective. “We’ve been working on this for probably the last 24 months, but it was really between August (2014) and now that everyone came together, the school district, View Royal and the CRD. The co-operation and the partnership between the three agencies was breathtaking and really rewarding.”
The presence of a safer, dryer, relatively level trail between Shoreline Drive and the connection to the bridge over Island Highway, he said, will benefit the 450 or so families living in the Christie Point Apartments, which sits on the strip of land jutting into Portage Inlet and serviced by Craigowan Road. The popular Portage Park playground, completed last year by the Town, sits just off the Rail Trail on the opposite side of the bridge.
The Capital Regional District’s planned upgrade of the Craigflower Pump Station next to the E&N Rail Trail provided the impetus for the Shoreline Trail idea. The new path runs alongside the sleek, modern building that sits just off Island Highway near the former rail bridge.
Aware of the project, Town representatives approached the school district and CRD with the idea, while getting full buy-in from former Shoreline principal Kim Strom, Rogers said. The school’s PAC and the Victoria Canoe and Kayak Club both wrote strong letters of support for the project, he added.
“What impressed me so much with the PAC was that they were prepared to provide extra funds if there was a shortfall. Fortunately there wasn’t, but it’s that kind of commitment from parents that lets you know you’ve got a terrific project on your hands.”
Current principal Nadine Naughton and her staff continued to provide support for the project as it moved through the process. She downplayed that support at Friday’s opening, preferring to let a regular trail user speak about the benefits of the trail.
A Grade 8 student named Clayton told how students could look forward to enjoying the sea air rather than having to breathe in car exhaust fumes as they walked towards Portage Park and beyond.
The opening of the Shoreline Trail coincides with the recent completion of Phase 2 of the Rail Trail project. That paved pathway was extended from the base of Four Mile Hill, along the rail bed and down to the intersection with the Colwood exit from Highway 1, where it links up with the Galloping Goose Trail.
For more information, visit viewroyal.ca and click on local news.