New Wild Pacific Trail spur opens lost beach

A once lost beach has been re-found thanks to the Wild Pacific Trail’s newest addition.

Members of the Wild Pacific Trail Society joined district officials at the trail on Monday to celebrate the unveiling of a new staircase leading down to a beach within Hi-Tin-kis Park.

“The district of Ucluelet is just thrilled to announce the official opening of the spur off the Hi-Tin-Kis trail which is part of the whole Wild Pacific Trail network,” said Abby Fortune, Ucluelet’s director of parks and recreation. She cited the project as another illustration of the solid partnership shared between the district and the Wild Pacific Trail Society.

“We’re able to look at what our current real estate is and and make it a more solid trail for everyone to enjoy,” she said.

The trail’s manager and innovator, Oyster Jim Martin said the new staircase took about four weeks to complete and noted the stairs were created from recycled plastic materials made to look like stained wood.

“I haven’t seen that application before and it is very, very, good for maintenance,” but for maintenance and longevity and safety, it’s got everything.”

The total cost of the project came in under $20,000 and was paid for in partnership between the society and the district.

Fortune said the society should be commended for working together to bring the project to fruition.

“They did two major work bees which were a big part of, stepping up to the plate and acting as a committee and acting as a support system for the trail network,” she said.

The society’s efforts have brought back a once-lost beach as the original staircase was closed off about two years ago because of safety concerns.

The original beach access stairs were built in the 1970’s as a Centennial Work project under the Pierre Trudeau government but they aged and weathered over time.

“They were just bandaided together over the decades,” said society member Barbara Timmermans, adding the creative use of recycled materials will increase safety and save on maintenance costs in the long-term.

“It’s a escape node for locals and curious tourists and it was very valuable to keep it,” Timmermans said. “The beach is a remote jewel.”

With the Big Beach staircase and new Hi-Tin-Kis stairwell now fully complete, the trail’s safety measures are covered off, according to Martin.

“This was the second safety related issue that we’ve dealt with within the trail system and that resolves all the outstanding liability stuff that we had to date,” he said.

reporter@westerlynews. ca