Bowen Park – Trailway & Utility Upgrades

September & October 2021

Bowen Trail Update for September & October


It’s been a long one…. but the bank stabilization and new sewer pipe are now completed. Restoration of the area affected by construction has been completed where locations have allowed. Looking forward to see how the green wall looks in the spring once the native grass and shrub mix has germinated! We have planted 172 trees (Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, and Big Leaf Maple) as part of the restoration works.

Approximately 200m of the 1km long trailway has been paved (through the disc golf course) with the remainder to be completed by early December. Once the trailway has been paved it will be opened back up to the public. 


July & August 2021

Bowen Park Trailway construction update for July and August


The bank stabilization of the sewer and trailway through the steep section of the park is almost completed and is ready for installation of the new pipe. The face of the retaining wall will be seeded so that it takes on a natural appearance and becomes a “green” feature. Finishing this major component is a significant milestone and we are approaching 60% of the sewer installed. The new sewer is expected to be completed by the end of September and connected in early October.

Installation of the trailway lighting has started and will be completed by October so that new multi-use trail can be paved and line painted. Landscape restoration and tree plantings in the completed sections is also underway.


June 2021 – On Schedule

Work has been proceeding as planned and we appreciate all the patience from various user groups in the park, including disc golfers, swim club members and many others! Approximately one third of the new sewer pipe has been installed and crews are working on a very large 1000m2 Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) wall. We have also identified additional areas where invasive plant species will be removed and started restoration plans for the affected areas.

In September the trunk sewer installation will resume allowing the trailway lighting and paving to follow. Heads up to the disc golfers that there will be some course closures for holes 1, 2, and 18 for a six week period in the fall. 


May 2021 - The Project is Underway!

After over a year of planning and design, the Bowen Park Trailway and Utility Upgrade project will be starting in May. Fencing will be installed around the work area (shown below in red) with signage clearly indicating safe and alternate routes for pedestrians and cyclists. The upper parking lot at Bowen Centre will be used for material storage and equipment by the contractor; the lower parking lot will be available. During the project, the entrance to Bowen Centre (opposite Howard Avenue) will be one way entry only, with all vehicles exiting Wall Street. Please follow the posted signage to keep the area safe while we complete this challenging project.

We are pleased that the disc golf course will remain open for the summer; however, it will need to be closed for a period of 6 weeks in the fall to install trailway lighting and replace the existing asphalt path. Please check back to this webpage for updates and photos as the work progresses through the summer.


March 2021 - Update On Our Barred Owl Friends

Resident Barred Owls at Bowen Park

With the help of one of our enthusiastic and knowledgeable residents the nesting location of this pair has been located and reviewed by our project biologists. Their preferred tree cavity is a healthy 35m away from our construction zone and will be monitored prior to and during construction.

The timing of construction is expected to coincide with their departure from the area in early summer as they continue the life in lower parts of Bowen Park. Alternate cavities in dead wildlife trees will be artificially created in January during the environmental work to provide alternate nesting locations away from the construction zone.

Project Description

Bowen Trailway

As part of the City’s commitment to asset management, sustainable growth, and active transportation improvements, the Bowen Park Trailway and Utility Upgrades include both a sewer utility and multi-use path (MUP) that have reached the end of their service life and need to be replaced. Strategic planning through the 5-year Capital Plan identifies these projects and where possible combines those of similar scope and proximity to achieve economy of scale and a comprehensive product.

The Millstone Trunk Sanitary Sewer (Millstone Trunk) is a large gravity sewer that stretches over 12 km from Brannen Lake to Nanaimo Harbour at Pearson Bridge and services approximately 40% of the City. The pipe needs to be upsized due to existing capacity shortfalls and to service future growth. The section through Bowen Park is 925m in length and will be upsized from 600mm to 900mm diameter to provide future capacity. 

The existing MUP along the south slope of Bowen Park is over top of the Millstone Trunk for most of its length and is beginning to deteriorate in places. As the trail will be impacted by the sewer work, the opportunity to improve and optimize this asset is being undertaken by:

  • Widening the path from 3.0m to 4.0m
  • Installing lighting to improve safety and increase utilization
  • Reduce excessive grades to ensure accessibility and mobility for all ages and abilities
  • Formalizing connections to other pedestrian and cycling facilities 

For more information, see the tabs below. The project is currently scheduled to be completed between May to September 2021.


If you have any comments or questions about the proposed improvements, please contact us at 250-755-4495 or email
  • Progress

    Project Updates:

    September & October 2021:

    • Bank stabilization and installation of the new trunk sewer is complete.
    • 20% of the trailway is paved with most of the lighting conduit and bases installed.
    • The current schedule should see the rest of the trailway paved and re-opened in early December.

    July & August 2021:

    • Construction of the large reinforced retaining wall at the middle of the trail is mostly complete and ready for installation of the sewer.
    • 60% of the new larger trunk sewer pipe installation is now complete.
    • Installation of trailway lighting conduit and bases is in progress.
    • Landscape restoration and tree planting in available locations is underway.

    June 2021:

    • May and June saw several bird nests identified (Anna’s Hummingbirds, Barred Owls, Robins) and protected during the front end of the project.
    • Tree protection fencing is installed through the entire site.
    • A new sanitary service to Bowen Centre has been installed and landscape restoration is in progress.
    • 30% of the new larger trunk sewer pipe is now complete.
    • Crews are working on a large reinforced earth wall in the middle of the trailway to stabilize the existing slope, walkway, and future sewer pipe.

    April 2021:

    • Pre-construction bird nesting surveys have been completed prior to construction to limit impact to existing wildlife.
    • The contractor will begin mobilizing the site in early May and installing fencing around the work area.
    • Signage will be installed throughout the park to identify safe and alternate routes for pedestrians and cyclists.
      • Documents
      • Details

        Bowen Park Trailway and Utility Upgrades FAQ

        Q1: Why is this upgrade required?

        • The sewer utility is approaching its capacity and needs to be upgraded to support future growth in the City, and ensure wastewater is conveyed in a safe, effective, and sustainable way.
        • The sewer utility currently does not meet the City guidelines for seismic stability, which will be addressed through this project.
        • The existing trailway is deteriorating in several locations and has grades that do not support accessibility. An opportunity exists to improve safety and utilization of the trail to promote Active Transportation.

          Q2: Why does the sewer utility need to go through the Park? Is there not a better location for this?


          The location of gravity sewers are generally based on topographic low points to maximize their service area. Using gravity to convey wastewater is preferable as this minimizes operational and capital costs as opposed to pumping.

          Several alternate locations for the sewer utility were evaluated at the concept stage including Bowen Road and the Millstream Parkway. When considering all social, economic, and environmental factors, the current location of the sewer utility was preferred. More detailed information on the evaluation of options is available HERE.

          Q3: What do the trailway improvements include? 

          Bowen Road is a major corridor in Nanaimo with high traffic volumes and no protected facilities for cyclists. The trail improvement will provide a safe alternative to cycling on Bowen Road, and provide formalized connections to major destination hubs including Downtown and the Hospital Area

          The multi-use path upgrades achieve both asset management and optimization of the existing trailway which includes:

          • Widening of the existing pathway from 3m to 4m
          • Addition of trail lighting
          • Green conflict paint at crossings
          Bowen Trailway Cross Section

          Q4: What is the impact to trees from construction?

          Tree preservation on this project is paramount. At the start of design trees and vegetation have been mapped and catalogued to understand potential impacts the project may have. The goal of the City and this project is to avoid and minimize project-related impacts to the environment. Reducing the number of tree removals is a critical consideration that has guided the decision-making process to date, along with several iterations of arborist reviews of the work proposed.

          Q5: I have heard that artificial lighting is bad for the environment. How will the new trail lighting affect the ecology of Bowen Park?

          • Certain light spectrums can affect the natural rhythm of plants and wildlife. While the LED trail lighting proposed has this potential, it has been mitigated by controlling the limits of the lighting to the trailway footprint to the extent possible. Additional information on the lighting component of the project is available HERE.

          Q6: How much will the improvements cost?

          • The total project budget is approximately $3.64 million.

          Q7: When will this be built?

          • The project is expected to be tendered in February 2021 and will be constructed through the summer and fall months between May to October 2021

          Q8: What trails or other facilities in Bowen Park will be affected during construction?

          • Bowen Park is a busy place! The construction phase of the work will see the trailway closed, including the connection to Wakesiah Avenue for approximately 5 months. Some gravel and parking lot areas will be used as material laydown for the contractor.
          • Signage will be in place to inform and direct the public to safe and alternate trails.
          • Park facilities including the West Sportsfield, Bowen Centre, and the Disc Golf Course will be mostly unaffected. 

          Q9: How can I provide my input or comments?

            • Background

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