North Saanich residents may not have made much fuss about a proposed trail linkage in the Ardmore neighbourhood during the planning stage.
Councillors nonetheless got an earful Monday night from homeowners upset at the potential to lose their privacy and security if a trail was extended along an undeveloped public portion of Falkirk Road between Glenelg Avenue and Ardmore Drive.
The move would cause a definite decrease in privacy and an increased security risk, said Ron Ballard, who lives on the Ardmore end.
Neighbour Larry Lohr agreed, noting their home is designed to enter at the rear and that people using the trail would have a open view of what is currently a private part of their property.
Outside the meeting he voiced fears that an improved trail would extend wider than the 1.5 metres outlined in a North Saanich parks report presented to councillors.
The report stated the project would provide as reasonable a buffer as possible between the trail and residential properties, but several neighbours told council no such buffer exists.
The linkage, which would run parallel to a drainage ditch, is identified in the parks department’s five-year capital plan. Previous public consultations found that in general, residents wanted further use of the undeveloped roads in the area. With this particular project due for approval, however, residents most affected came to speak up.
“If there’s no beach access at this end of the trail, I don’t understand why it’s being opened up,” said Lohr’s wife, Elizabeth.
Glenelg resident Jim Standen wrote that the project would give trail users an “unfettered line of sight into our residence.” At the meeting he added that he is concerned for what might happen to displaced birds nesting in the area. “Trails add something, but they take something away at the same time.”
“For $10,000 that’s budgeted for this project,” Councillor Peter Chandler said, “we don’t want to upset the neighbours.”
In the end, councillors voted to send the plan back to the parks advisory commission so residents could discuss their concerns. That meeting is not slated to happen until January.