Morden and the Trans Canada Trail

by David S. Dunaway

Earlier this year, excitement was generated around the prospect of the Regional District of Nanaimo revisiting its routing of the Trans Canada Trail route through the Region. Subsequently, RDN Parks and Trails Coordinator, Joan Michel and new Area 'A' Director, Alec McPherson, were generous enough to attended the February FOMM meeting, thus to provide greater background to the relationship of the TCT to MCRT (and the other existing and potential trails in the Area). [Again, our thanks to Joan and Alec.]

To wit: with completion of the TCT through the RDN simply a matter of completing the details of the TCT's crossing of Nanaimo River, the link between Morden and Kinsol will happen as a spur route off the TCT; an event simply awaiting opportunities to add the necessary trail inventory.

So, with an MCRT bridge over Nanaimo River once more climbing the ladder of funding priorities, I thought it would be an opportune time to draw wider attention to another gap in the MCRT: that half which would connect Morden to its parent PCCM (Pacific Coast Coal Mines(?)) site; that half which would allow the TCT to be linked to Morden.

A portion of the original rail line still exists between Morden and the TransCanada Highway and is in good repair, despite decades of neglect; looking out over the farmland straddling Thatcher Creek. The route under the TransCanada, on the other hand, is not in such good repair..

With drainage blocked on its eastern entrance, standing water is a regular feature of this little known pedestrian underpass.

West of the Highway, the existing trail is again in good repair, but without an exit it seems to have been "appropriated" by its immediate neighbour inside the rail cut that parallels Kimball Road, Fiddick's Junction just beyond the trees. Sadly, with few eyes around, it's sometimes used as a rubbish dump.

Part of the RDN's trail plans include 'rail trail.' This portion of the E&N runs immediately above where the PCCM line ran before crossing under the E&N. Wouldn't Robert Dunsmuir be pleased knowing his railway could help commemorate the PCCM? The adjacent photo shows the view from just below the E&N, overlooking the #10 Mine and Beck Lake.

A view of the beaver pond below the PCCM, along side the trails that would connect MCRT West to Chase River/Nanaimo.