Departure Bay Waterfront Walkway

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

The City of Nanaimo’s waterfront walkway is a much-valued community asset. Built incrementally over the last 30 years, the walkway provides opportunities for recreation, culture, access to nature, and social activities for both residents and tourists.

The City is currently considering a key phase of expansion which focuses on Departure Bay between the existing trail behind BC Ferries Terminal to the existing waterfront walkway near the Kin Hut at Kinsmen Park. Improvements are part of the much larger Nanaimo Waterfront Walkway Implementation Plan that outlines an upgraded and expanded walkway from Departure Bay to the Nanaimo River Estuary. Upgrades would provide a continuous, accessible pathway with improved connectivity to make it easier to walk and bike around the City.

Waterfront walk, cycle, beach and environmental improvements for the Departure Bay segment are intended to provide better access to waterfront/beach areas, enhance shoreline habitat, and provide better connectivity to other areas in the City.

The City acknowledges Nanaimo is on the ancestral lands of the Snuneymuxw First Nation and the Snaw-naw-as (Nanoose) First Nation, of the Coast Salish people, who have lived along the waterfront for generations.

The City of Nanaimo’s waterfront walkway is a much-valued community asset. Built incrementally over the last 30 years, the walkway provides opportunities for recreation, culture, access to nature, and social activities for both residents and tourists.

The City is currently considering a key phase of expansion which focuses on Departure Bay between the existing trail behind BC Ferries Terminal to the existing waterfront walkway near the Kin Hut at Kinsmen Park. Improvements are part of the much larger Nanaimo Waterfront Walkway Implementation Plan that outlines an upgraded and expanded walkway from Departure Bay to the Nanaimo River Estuary. Upgrades would provide a continuous, accessible pathway with improved connectivity to make it easier to walk and bike around the City.

Waterfront walk, cycle, beach and environmental improvements for the Departure Bay segment are intended to provide better access to waterfront/beach areas, enhance shoreline habitat, and provide better connectivity to other areas in the City.

The City acknowledges Nanaimo is on the ancestral lands of the Snuneymuxw First Nation and the Snaw-naw-as (Nanoose) First Nation, of the Coast Salish people, who have lived along the waterfront for generations.

  • What's Happening?

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    Three sections of the Departure Bay walkway would be constructed in one phase:

    • South Segment: from the existing BC Ferries trail across Northfield Creek
    • Central Segment: Below Cilaire Bluffs (from White Eagle Terrace to Battersea Road)
    • North Segment: along Battersea and Randle Roads to connect to the Kin Hut area

    The Departure Bay segment (S1 in the map) between Departure Bay and the BC Ferries Terminal has been identified as a high priority based on public feedback and is the focus of this project.

    To learn more about the improvements for Departure Bay, read our Project Brochure.





    Key Improvements

    • Better public access to beaches in key areas
    • Improved access for all ages and abilities
    • Separated cycle path and waterfront walkway in key areas
    • Increased connectivity to existing cycling and pedestrian networks including a bridge over Northfield Creek
    • Improved amenities such as seating, picnic areas, rest areas, cycle parking, and low grade lighting
    • Coastal restoration that protects and enhances shoreline areas for improved sustainability and considers anticipated sea level rise impacts
    • Habitat improvements to the Northfield estuary including protection of existing environmentally sensitive areas
    • Re-vegetation and protection of existing treed slopes in areas
    • Interpretive elements for cultural learning and nature appreciation
    • Traffic calming, “local vehicle only” areas, and parking restrictions on Battersea and Randle Roads to enhance pedestrian and cyclist safety


    Improvements are part of the larger Implementation Plan which envisions a continuous walkway from Departure Bay to the Nanaimo River Estuary. The plan was endorsed by Council based on public support to to expand and improve upon the existing sections of walkway which are focused around the downtown core and along Newcastle Channel. Recommended improvements to the waterfront walkway have also been noted in multiple existing policy documents including the 2016-2019 Strategic Plan Update, the Official Community Plan, and the Transportation Master Plan. Implementation of the overall walkway would be developed in phases with anticipated completion of the 13 km-long segment around 2027.

    Expansion of the walkway will require continued technical development as well as continued coordination with local stakeholders, interest groups, and the community.