Mount Benson Regional Park - Parking Infrastructure Project

Learn about the Mount Benson Parking Infrastructure Project, the process to date, and the next steps.

How you can be involved and find out more:

Please register (tab at the top of this page). By registering you will be kept up-to-date with progress on the Mount Benson Parking Infrastructure Project through our electronic communications.

  • Want to learn more?

    • Please see the context map and parking lot design in the document library to have a better understanding of the project.

    • See the Frequently Asked Questions to find answers to some common questions.

    • You can also visit Mount Benson Regional Park for more information about the history and current management of the park.

  • Share your comments or questions with the project team by posting on the GuestBook.

Check out What's New for updates as the project moves along.

Learn about the Mount Benson Parking Infrastructure Project, the process to date, and the next steps.

How you can be involved and find out more:

Please register (tab at the top of this page). By registering you will be kept up-to-date with progress on the Mount Benson Parking Infrastructure Project through our electronic communications.

  • Want to learn more?

    • Please see the context map and parking lot design in the document library to have a better understanding of the project.

    • See the Frequently Asked Questions to find answers to some common questions.

    • You can also visit Mount Benson Regional Park for more information about the history and current management of the park.

  • Share your comments or questions with the project team by posting on the GuestBook.

Check out What's New for updates as the project moves along.

  • Witchcraft Lake roadside parking lot and floating boardwalk update

    about 10 hours ago

    On November 12, 2019 the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) Board of Directors unanimously voted to decommission the roadside parking lot and floating boardwalk located at Witchcraft Lake at 2905 Benson View Rd, Nanaimo BC.

    This decision follows the completion of the newly built parking lot at Mount Benson Regional Park located approximately 500m from the 24 stalls roadside parking lot slated to be decommissioned.

    The new parking lot for Mount Benson Regional Park opened in June 2019 and offers 87 paved parking stalls, a drop off zone for buses, a new trailhead and other improved facilities including kiosk maps,...

    On November 12, 2019 the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) Board of Directors unanimously voted to decommission the roadside parking lot and floating boardwalk located at Witchcraft Lake at 2905 Benson View Rd, Nanaimo BC.

    This decision follows the completion of the newly built parking lot at Mount Benson Regional Park located approximately 500m from the 24 stalls roadside parking lot slated to be decommissioned.

    The new parking lot for Mount Benson Regional Park opened in June 2019 and offers 87 paved parking stalls, a drop off zone for buses, a new trailhead and other improved facilities including kiosk maps, bear proof garbage cans and an accessible vault toilet. The new parking lot also includes an overflow gravel parking lot that can accommodate an additional 30-35 vehicles, bringing the total capacity of the parking lot to over 120 vehicles.

    In addition, a new trail connection has been built from the new parking area to access the west side of Witchcraft Lake.

    The next steps for RDN parks will be to review a transition plan with the City of Nanaimo (who owns the lands surrounding Witchcraft Lake) and with the Ministry of Transportation who has jurisdiction on the linear 24 stall roadside parking lot. The work to decommission the parking and floating boardwalk should start this winter with an estimated completion date being in Spring 2020.

    The Mt. Benson Regional Park trailhead and main entrance can be easily accessed through the new parking lot located at 2761 Benson View Road, Nanaimo BC. The gates at the new parking lot will be open from 5 am – 11 pm in the summer months and 5 am – 8 pm in the winter months.

  • New Parking Lot Open at Mount Benson Regional Park

    4 months ago

    The new Mount Benson parking lot and a new trail that leads from the parking lot to the mountain are now complete and open for public use.

    Overlooking the City of Nanaimo, the 211-hectare Mount Benson Regional Park features rough mountainous terrain and panoramic views. The pre-existing parking lot at Witchcraft Lake provided insufficient capacity to meet the needs of increased patronage; therefore, in consultation with the public, property for the new parking lot was acquired in 2018, and construction began in the spring of 2019.

    “The growth and maintenance of our parks and trails systems calls for long-term and...

    The new Mount Benson parking lot and a new trail that leads from the parking lot to the mountain are now complete and open for public use.

    Overlooking the City of Nanaimo, the 211-hectare Mount Benson Regional Park features rough mountainous terrain and panoramic views. The pre-existing parking lot at Witchcraft Lake provided insufficient capacity to meet the needs of increased patronage; therefore, in consultation with the public, property for the new parking lot was acquired in 2018, and construction began in the spring of 2019.

    “The growth and maintenance of our parks and trails systems calls for long-term and sustainable servicing,” said Chair Ian Thorpe. “The new parking lot and trail at Mount Benson Regional Park is designed to meet rising demands, and this infrastructure will provide visitors with ample parking and safe access to one of our regions treasured landmarks.”

    For more information about Mount Benson Regional Park, please visit rdn.bc.ca/mount-benson-regional-park.

  • The New Mount Benson Parking Lot Will Open Mid-June

    5 months ago

    The new Mount Benson parking lot will be open for use in mid-June 2019. The new trail that leads from the parking lot to the mountain will be completed by the end of June. A detour to the existing trail will be provided along Harrow Road, and temporary signage will direct visitors to the detour.

    To direct visitors to the new parking lot and trail head, signs will be installed along the road and at the existing parking lot. A news release will be sent out in the last week of June, and information will be posted on social media...

    The new Mount Benson parking lot will be open for use in mid-June 2019. The new trail that leads from the parking lot to the mountain will be completed by the end of June. A detour to the existing trail will be provided along Harrow Road, and temporary signage will direct visitors to the detour.

    To direct visitors to the new parking lot and trail head, signs will be installed along the road and at the existing parking lot. A news release will be sent out in the last week of June, and information will be posted on social media and the RDN website. Updates on social media will continue throughout the summer to direct people to the new parking lot.

    As directed by the Regional Board, the existing parking lot and floating boardwalk will remain open, and a report will be prepared for the Board in the summer of 2020 regarding the use of the site. The use of both parking areas will be monitored through trail counter data and site visits by staff and contractors.

    The gates at the new parking lot will be open from 5 am – 11 pm in the summer months and 5 am – 8 pm in the winter months.


  • Construction Underway - Rock Blasting Notice UPDATE

    9 months ago
    Construction is underway for the Mount Benson Regional Park parking lot located at 2761 Benson View Road, Nanaimo BC.

    Please note that blasting operations for rock removal are scheduled to commence on Friday, March 8 and will continue until Wednesday, March 20.(updated)

    Work will typically take place between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:00 pm Monday to Friday, with site preparations for this work underway.

    Blasting Signals:
    The blasting signals are as follows:

    Preceding the blast, 12 short whistle signals will be sounded at one second intervals. (Air horn will be used).

    Two minutes will elapse after the...

    Construction is underway for the Mount Benson Regional Park parking lot located at 2761 Benson View Road, Nanaimo BC.

    Please note that blasting operations for rock removal are scheduled to commence on Friday, March 8 and will continue until Wednesday, March 20.(updated)

    Work will typically take place between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:00 pm Monday to Friday, with site preparations for this work underway.

    Blasting Signals:
    The blasting signals are as follows:

    Preceding the blast, 12 short whistle signals will be sounded at one second intervals. (Air horn will be used).

    Two minutes will elapse after the last warning signal before initiating the blast.

    Following the blast, and after the area has been inspected and found safe, one prolonged
    whistle signal of at least 5 seconds duration will be sounded to signify that permission is
    granted to the contractor to return to the blasting area.

    Blasting Contractor:
    Pierre Bessett
    Jake Bain
    Windley Contracting
    250-758-3411

    Prime Contractor:
    Milestone Equipment Contracting Inc.
    1-888-484-7303

    All blasts will be monitored with blasting seismographs to record ground vibrations.

    Inquiries: For questions or concerns please call 1-888-484-7303
  • Construction Contract Awarded

    10 months ago

    At their regular meeting, January 22, 2019, the Regional District of Nanaimo Board approved the tender award for the Mount Benson parking lot project to Milestone Equipment Contracting Inc. for a value of $526,758.15 (plus GST).

    Project construction is expected to begin in the next few weeks and run through to the end of May 2019.

    The parking lot design provides for approximately 80 paved stalls and an additional 25 gravel overflow spaces. It will be able to accommodate the turning radius of a bus and emergency service vehicles. A new trail head, complete with vault toilet, garbage and recycling,...

    At their regular meeting, January 22, 2019, the Regional District of Nanaimo Board approved the tender award for the Mount Benson parking lot project to Milestone Equipment Contracting Inc. for a value of $526,758.15 (plus GST).

    Project construction is expected to begin in the next few weeks and run through to the end of May 2019.

    The parking lot design provides for approximately 80 paved stalls and an additional 25 gravel overflow spaces. It will be able to accommodate the turning radius of a bus and emergency service vehicles. A new trail head, complete with vault toilet, garbage and recycling, bike rack, and kiosk sign/map will be located in the southwest corner of the new parking lot. Trail improvements are planned to link the new trail head to the existing trail network on the slopes of Mount Benson.

    Check back here for updates at the project moves forward!


  • Project Tender

    about 1 year ago

    With approvals from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in place, the Mount Benson parking lot project is open for Tender. The invitation to tender can be found here, with closing time of 2:00pm December 5th, 2018.

    The design includes over 75 parking spaces, plus an additional 25 overflow spots. A new trailhead with kiosk map, garbage/recycling and vault toilet is also included in the design. Following review and approval of the successful bid by the Regional Board, project construction could begin as early as February 2019.


    With approvals from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in place, the Mount Benson parking lot project is open for Tender. The invitation to tender can be found here, with closing time of 2:00pm December 5th, 2018.

    The design includes over 75 parking spaces, plus an additional 25 overflow spots. A new trailhead with kiosk map, garbage/recycling and vault toilet is also included in the design. Following review and approval of the successful bid by the Regional Board, project construction could begin as early as February 2019.


  • Existing parking area update

    over 1 year ago

    The future of the existing parking area at Witchcraft Lake was discussed by the Regional Board at their regular meeting on May 22, 2018. No decision was made at this meeting and the topic was deferred to the next Regional Parks and Trails Committee meeting this fall.

    The meeting's agenda and minutes (when available) can be found here:

    https://www.rdn.bc.ca/events/2018-5-22/

    The future of the existing parking area at Witchcraft Lake was discussed by the Regional Board at their regular meeting on May 22, 2018. No decision was made at this meeting and the topic was deferred to the next Regional Parks and Trails Committee meeting this fall.

    The meeting's agenda and minutes (when available) can be found here:

    https://www.rdn.bc.ca/events/2018-5-22/

  • Project Timeline

    over 1 year ago

    The push to have the new parking lot open by the end of 2018 has been reconsidered and the project timeline has been extended to summer 2019. Factors related to this include:

    • the need to obtain permits and approvals from other levels of government

    • the benefit of tendering the project in the fall/winter when contractor availability is greater and more competitive bids can be expected

    • the practicality of beginning construction in the springtime as opposed to the fall.

    As a reminder, please obey posted signage at the existing Witchcraft Lake parking lot, do not litter and...

    The push to have the new parking lot open by the end of 2018 has been reconsidered and the project timeline has been extended to summer 2019. Factors related to this include:

    • the need to obtain permits and approvals from other levels of government

    • the benefit of tendering the project in the fall/winter when contractor availability is greater and more competitive bids can be expected

    • the practicality of beginning construction in the springtime as opposed to the fall.

    As a reminder, please obey posted signage at the existing Witchcraft Lake parking lot, do not litter and please be respectful of surrounding neighbours.

    Consider meeting your hiking group off-site and carpooling to the trailhead to help reduce traffic congestion on Benson View Road. Thank you for your cooperation!


  • Project Update - House removal underway

    over 1 year ago

    Russell McMann Builders Group has been awarded the contract to begin works to remove the residence from the property at 2761 Benson View Road, the site of a future parking lot and new trailhead for Mount Benson Regional Park. The removal of the house will be underway during April, 2018.

    Project engineers are working to complete the design of the future parking lot and trailhead at 2761 Benson View Road. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will review the design and hydrology assessment prior to issuing a permit to the RDN for use of the undeveloped road allowance that runs...

    Russell McMann Builders Group has been awarded the contract to begin works to remove the residence from the property at 2761 Benson View Road, the site of a future parking lot and new trailhead for Mount Benson Regional Park. The removal of the house will be underway during April, 2018.

    Project engineers are working to complete the design of the future parking lot and trailhead at 2761 Benson View Road. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will review the design and hydrology assessment prior to issuing a permit to the RDN for use of the undeveloped road allowance that runs along the backside of the property.

    Park staff will be applying to the Province of BC for permission to use a new trail alignment that will provide a more direct link from the new parking area to Mount Benson Regional Park.

    The existing roadside parking lot and trailhead at Witchcraft Lake will remain open until the new parking lot is constructed. The RDN Board will consider and make a decision regarding decommissioning the existing parking area at their regular Board meeting later this spring.

    It is anticipated that parking lot construction will be underway this fall. Updates to the project timeline and other project details will be posted here as they become available. Please check back for updates!


  • How We Got Here

    about 2 years ago

    Mount Benson Regional Park was purchased in 2006. Within this first 10-years as a regional park, Mount Benson has seen a growing wave of recreational use. Not only have the mountain landscape and area trails changed with increased wear, but so have the trailhead and roadside landscape. The current 24-stall roadside parking area at Witchcraft Lake is no longer able to support the high level of use this mountain now sees. Recreation is not limited to the park boundaries either, with surrounding Crown land also seeing more recreationalists hiking, biking, running and walking.

    On October 3, 2017, the RDN Board...

    Mount Benson Regional Park was purchased in 2006. Within this first 10-years as a regional park, Mount Benson has seen a growing wave of recreational use. Not only have the mountain landscape and area trails changed with increased wear, but so have the trailhead and roadside landscape. The current 24-stall roadside parking area at Witchcraft Lake is no longer able to support the high level of use this mountain now sees. Recreation is not limited to the park boundaries either, with surrounding Crown land also seeing more recreationalists hiking, biking, running and walking.

    On October 3, 2017, the RDN Board approved the purchase of 2761 Benson View Road for the purpose of developing a parking lot and trailhead amenities for Mount Benson Regional Park and surrounding lands. Parks staff will be working through the various next stages to bring this much needed infrastructure to fruition. In the meantime, the existing parking lot at Witchcraft Lake will remain open and its future use will be considered once the new parking lot is built. The goal is for the new parking lot to be constructed and open by the end of 2018.

    Whenever possible, please carpool to the existing trailhead to help reduce traffic congestion on site. Please obey posted signage, do not litter and please be respectful of surrounding neighbours.