The Pacific Rim National Park is taking advantage of winter’s calm to invest about $5 million into its accessibility and enjoyability.
This includes installing a roughly $4 million water system and putting about $1 million worth of roadwork in at Radar Hill.
“Parks Canada is very excited about the infrastructure projects underway in
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve,” Pacific Rim National Park Superintendent Morag Hutcheson told the Westerly News.
“The rehabilitation of Radar Hill Road and day use area and the new water lines are part of the largest investment in infrastructure in the history of the park reserve…These projects address some much needed rehabilitation to existing assets, and will benefit visitors for years to come.”
The Park brought improvements to Radar Hill earlier this year by repairing platforms and installing new benches and it is now focused on improving access to the area by resurfacing the road leading up to it.
The roadwork began at the start of December and Radar Hill will be closed to the public until the project concludes around May 2016.
“Radar Hill Road was in very poor condition, making it difficult for visitors to safely access the Radar Hill day use area and viewpoint,” Hutcheson said.
“The work is being done to address safety and accessibility issues, including recent sink holes, large potholes, stretches of buckling pavement, and poor drainage.”
The Park’s new $4 million water system is being installed between Lost Shoe Creek and Esowista and construction began on Dec. 1.
“The construction of the integrated water system will provide a new and safer sewer and water distribution system in the Long Beach Unit of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, and includes Parks Canada’s contribution to shared infrastructure required to connect the park, local First Nation communities and the regional airport facilities to a viable potable water source,” Hutcheson said.
“The new water lines and other utility work will expand and rehabilitate existing infrastructure and support a water system that will meet both current and future needs of the park reserve.”
The work is expected to wrap up in July but will cause delays along Hwy. 4, and temporary closures to Long Beach’s south parking lot, until then.
“While the south beach parking lot is closed, visitors will find plenty of parking in the north beach parking lot,” Hutcheson said. “Construction crews will work during daylight hours, seven days per week.”
The Park is also replacing a culvert underneath Wick Road and installing a bridge at the Sandhill Creek crossing.
This work began on Dec. 7 and will periodically shut down access to Wickaninnish Beach, the Kwisitis Visitor Centre, Kwisitis Feast House, and the Shorepine Bog Trail until late-May.
During closures, access to Florencia Bay and Half Moon Bay would remain open through Willowbrae Trial.
Hutcheson said the Park hopes to complete its projects before summer’s busy season hits.
“To minimize the impact on visitors, work has been scheduled during the quiet season,” she said.
“Parks Canada is addressing this work now, before weather conditions deteriorate further, and to meet the needs of future park users.”
She thanked locals and visitors for their patience.
“Parks Canada recognizes the closure of Radar Hill Road and area, and short road delays along Highway 4, are an inconvenience to members of the local communities and Park visitors,” she said.
“We appreciate your support and patience while we turn these short-term inconveniences to long term benefits for the local communities and Park reserve visitors.”