Morden Colliery Regional Trail: a River Runs through it

by David S. Dunaway
With edits by Morden Mine News

If all goes as planned, there will soon be no river blocking Morden Mine from its alter ego, Boat Harbour. Growing awareness of the importance of a Morden Colliery Regional Trail pedestrian bridge over Nanaimo River has led the new Area 'A' (Cedar, South Wellington and Cassidy) Official Community Plan to incorporate the Regional Parks and Trails Plan support for"an extension of the Morden Colliery Regional Trail to connect the Morden Colliery Provincial Park and Hemer Provincial Park by a bridge across the Nanaimo River and trail development from the Nanaimo River through to Boat Harbour."

Officially, Tom Osborne, General Manager of Recreation and Parks Services, Regional District of Nanaimo, states:

"This bridge has been scheduled to be designed and built within the next five years. However with the recent significant acquisition of Moorecroft Regional Park, the RDN Board will be reviewing funding priorities of all large Regional Park and Trail capital projects, including regional trail bridges and land acquisition projects, as part of their 2012 budget process which will get under way this summer and fall.

It is our intent to continue with the pre-construction planning work in the next two years as the river crossing area is quite complex, including a challenging approach that is subject to regular flooding of Thatcher Creek and a significant span over the River. Applicable grant funding to assist with the bridge project is also being sourced."

So there will soon come a time when this lone bench will no longer signify the current dead end of the 1.2 km western portion of the MCRT. The trail will run over /above the river to join up with its eastern section.

And the likes of these will no longer serve as barriers to this already licensed portion of the Trail.

Next up, the MCRT connecting Morden Colliery Historic Provincial Park to the Pacific Coast Coal Mining Company's old South Wellington Colliery to the west, enabling the Kinsol to link to Morden courtesy of the TransCanada Trail?