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Paving road to Prevost summit not recommended

Kyle Fraser, Jacob Jones, Braden Lundahl, David Koeber (back, from left) and Jesse Fleck help clean Mount Prevost.  - courtesy Darren Hart
Kyle Fraser, Jacob Jones, Braden Lundahl, David Koeber (back, from left) and Jesse Fleck help clean Mount Prevost.
— image credit: courtesy Darren Hart

Paving a road to Mount Prevost's peak would be costly, and isn't recommended by a North Cowichan senior staffer.

But parks-and-recreation boss Ernie Mansueti's report, tabled Friday to council, does recommend approval for staff to calculate costs for other park upgrade work on the mountaintop park.

Prices to upgrade roads, build peak trails, install safety railings and expand Prevost parking would be included.

Mansueti probed the feasibility of paving Prevost's gravel road, and creating a public park at the summit — also home to a historic war memorial — as recently proposed by Duncan Daybreak Rotary Club's Dave Darwin.

Mansueti reports preliminary prices for adding six inches of crush, and two inches of blacktop three metres wide, are about $130,000 per kilometre.

Ditching costs would be about $40,000 per kilometre, he noted.

Steep grades, reduced winter traction, icing, and pavement heaving were other problems cited by Mansueti.

"Over a five-year period, it is estimated maintenance costs would not be reduced by paving the road," he concludes, noting logging-truck traffic would also affect the road as already shown on the paved approach to the mountain's lower gate.

"Paving the road would likely create a new hazard by enabling increased speeds for vehicles, bicycles, and long boards," Mansueti states.

But there are better chances of improving the peak as parkland, he explained.

Trails with staircases would need signage to keep folks off Prevost's sensitive foliage, he says.

Extra staffing would also be needed for more fire patrols, trash collection, trail and gate duty, plus vandalism prevention.

"A concerted effort will be needed to restrict foot traffic to designated trails, or these wildflower areas will be destroyed," Mansueti says.

Benches, picnic tables and safety railings are doable, but more difficult and costly due to Prevost's summit site, he notes.

Prevost's parking lot can be enlarged, and costs are pending.

He recommends staff tote tabs for: increased maintenance of the current road; building upgraded trails to each peak, and from peak to peak; adding park amenities and safety features to both peak and trail viewing; reaching a lease arrangement with landowners of the war memorial site; enlarging the parking lot; adding washrooms; and boosting trail and park care-taking.

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