Bowen Park – Trailway & Utility Upgrades

Notice of Trail Closure

The City will be closing the section of trailway on or around January 20 to 21, and 27 to 29 at the location shown below to undertake some pre-construction environmental work. Please use the alternate routes shown and obey all signage and flaggers to ensure your safety.

Bowen Park Trail Closure Map


Update On Our Barred Owl Friends

Resident Barred Owls at Bowen Park

With the help of one of our enthusiastic and knowlegable 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 overtop 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 Update:

    January 2021:

    • Several activities will be taking place in Bowen Park this month, including bird nesting surveys and the investigation of tree roots and confirmation of the new utility alignment. Intermittent trail closures will be required to safely complete this work and signage will be posted with this information.
    • Restoration plans for after the project are being created to address the construction footprint and remove invasive species where possible.
    • Detailed design is nearing completion in preparation for a February construction tender.

    November 2020:

    • Moving from preliminary into detailed design, to be completed by February 2021.
    • Discussion with neighbourhood associations and other user groups and stakeholders to review the project details and receive input.
  • 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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