First bent at south approach to Trestle removed to restrict access
Kinsol Trestle, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC Canada
Shawnigan Lake Historical Society
If you hiked the Trans Canada Trail on Vancouver Island, prior to 2011, the Koksilah River Crossing in the Cowichan Valley was the only broken link between Shawnigan Lake and the Town of Lake Cowichan. For many years, it was necessary for hikers and cyclists to take an arduous nine kilometre detour to cross the river.
The Kinsol Trestle is one of the most magnificent structures in Canada. This old wooden railway bridge spans the Koksilah River valley. Subjected to neglect, vandalism and the encroaching forest, it became necessary to restrict access to the bridge, due to public safety concerns.
Owned by the Province of British Columbia, the trestle, once well maintained as a working railway bridge, was virtually ignored while the public, politicians and the media debated the merits of preserving it. This reached a critical point in April 2006, when the B.C. Ministry of Transportation (MOT) announced that it was transferring $1.5 million to the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) to dismantle the Kinsol Trestle in an effort to mitigate potential liability issues. Suddenly, there was an urgency to decide the fate of the trestle.
"Coming Down - Historic Kinsol Trestle slated for demolition" stated the headline of the Cowichan News Leader Pictorial on April 23, 2006.
A firestorm of letter writing initiated a last-ditch campaign to preserve the trestle. There had been many attempts to save the historic railway bridge from demolition - coverage of the issue in the media, commissioned reports, feasibility studies, petitions and exhibitions.
Would the Kinsol Trestle survive?