Construction on road access to an elaborate new tourist attraction on Vancouver Island is underway.
That road will lead to a planned 40-metre wooden spiral tower, expected to be standing tall and open to the public by spring 2021 alongside the Malahat Highway, 30 minutes north of Victoria, B.C.
The Malahat Skywalk is a joint venture between the Malahat Nation and A. Spire by Nature, a company led by two people who founded the Sea-to-Sky Gondola in Squamish.
The attraction, constructed primarily of wood, will feature a 650-metre elevated walkway through the woods, leading to the lookout structure.
"It has a very gentle slope, so it is accessible to a number of people," said project manager Ken Bailey, adding the Skywalk will be built wide enough for two wheelchairs to fit side by side.
Bailey said construction on road access from the highway is now underway and will continue until March. Following that, work will begin on a parking lot and a welcome centre.
The walkway will begin to be assembled once that work is completed and is expected to open for visitors by spring 2021.
"I suspect the impact on drivers, the actual traffic flow, will be minimal," said Bailey, about the current roadwork. He said any traffic stoppages will happen overnight as road blasting will take place after 7 p.m.
Once the tower is erected, Bailey said it will provide people "with the most stunning views that can be offered."
"The entire structure from tip to tail is 40 metres," said Bailey, adding a viewing platform will be placed at the 30 metre mark, about 10 storeys high.
Artisans from the Malahat Nation will create art pieces that will be displayed on site. There will also be new tourism and construction jobs for members.
"We are hoping for the Malahat Nation, it becomes a key economic driver," said Bailey.
Admission costs for the Malahat Skywalk are estimated to be about $30 per person.