Work has begun on the new 650-metre elevated wooden pathway, located just north of the Malahat Summit.
The approximately $15-million project, called the Malahat Skywalk, is expected to bring a world-class tourism experience to Southern Vancouver Island.
Ken Bailey is the general manager of the project, which is being built in a partnership between A.Spire by Nature, a B.C.-based company that specializes in creating accessible, self-guided, nature-based experiences in iconic locations, and the Malahat Nation, on whose land the structure will be built.
A.Spire by Nature is a new company led by two of the founding partners in the successful Sea to Sky Gondola near Squamish.
“When complete, the Malahat Skywalk will be a great asset that the general community and the Malahat Nation will be proud of,” Bailey said.
“The whole concept is for visitors to understand and appreciate the natural setting that is the West Coast. There will be interpretive signage along the walkway to explain the local floral and fauna, as well as to tell the story of the Malahat Nation and its history.”
The skywalk will see an elevated wooden pathway constructed through an arbutus forest leading to a gentle accessible spiral ramp climbing up to a 40-metre high sightseeing lookout where visitors will witness magnificent views of the Finlayson Arm and distant coastal mountains.
Bailey said the site will also contain a welcome centre, a café and retail stores.
“Similar structures have been built in Europe and other parts of the world,” he said.
“We’re aiming to have our opening day in the spring of 2021.”
Bailey said the construction of the skywalk may result in short evening closures of Highway 1 between Whittaker Road and Mill Bay Road.
He said, after consulting with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, local construction companies are putting in an access road to the Skywalk site from the highway.
“The road work should be completed by the end of March, but most work that will have an impact on highway traffic should be done over the next few weeks,” he said.
“Delays in traffic will be kept to a minimum, and only in the evenings.”