Ty Driscoll clears air during his mountain bike jump in Haro Woods earlier this year. Saanich Monday confirmed the ban against off-trailing in the area (Black Press File).

Council approves plan banning cycling in Haro Woods

Municipality accused of caving to small minority of park users

Saanich council approved the draft management plan for Haro Woods, but not before hearing charges of ignoring the public will in confirming a ban on “active” biking.

Speaking before council, Cadboro Bay resident James Anderson said Saanich’s staff report confirming the ban on “active biking” perpetuates misinformation.

He pointed specifically to portions of a (non-scientific) survey that appear to support off-trail biking — the type of biking that the confirmed ban on active biking would prohibit. Almost 64 per cent of respondents said they would come to Haro Woods if Saanich were to create a well-designed biking area where all biking activity, including jumps, would be allowed.

RELATED: Draft plan bans off-trail biking in Saanich’s Haro Woods

Anderson questioned why Saanich is ignoring these voices as he accused supporters of the plan — “a self-appointed, small minority” – of deceiving the public.

“Tonight, I stand here bitterly disappointed at two things: the narrow selfish nature of several of my [neighbours] and failures of the democratic process where the public process clearly got derailed and captured by the small group of zealots who know how to manipulate the media and public process and pressure politicians,” he said. “I am compelled to suggest there will be significant difference between what the draft plan proposes for park use in contrast to patterns of current use, much of which I predict will persist.”

But Anderson remained a minority voice, as the majority of speakers, including Eric Dahli, president of the Cadboro Bay Residents Association, supported the ban. Anderson implied himself that opponents of the draft plan can only blame themselves by not showing up to Monday’s meeting.

Council unanimously endorsed the draft management plan after hearing from Saanich’s senior manager of park, Eva Riccius, who said off-trail biking does not match the area zoning, harms the environment and causes conflict among users.

Despite efforts and discussions with the biking community, activities connected with trail biking such as jump building have continued, she said.

“So while there was some interest in the community to warrant exploring the issue and possibly allowing it, in the end, there wasn’t sufficient support for us as staff to recommend to you to allow it to occur in the park,” she said.

Active biking, she added, would be inconsistent with the vision of the plan.

Saanich will instead remove jumps, restore damaged areas, and monitor the area, while allowing “passive” biking, she said.

Overall, the draft management will include resources to improve signage, accessibility, and monitor the area, she said.

The drafting of the plan has identified a “strong interest” for some sort of a cycling facility in Saanich and the municipality is working towards that goal, said Riccius.

“In 2019, we will be constructing a new bike skills park at McMinn Park [along the Lochside Trail],” she said. “We are also in discussion with owners of two properties that would be suitable for a youth park of some sort, and those discussions are looking quite positive,” she said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Camosun student shares story of overcoming struggles to inspire others

Provincial Tuition Waiver Program helps former youths in care attend post-secondary institutions

Local Monarchist says Saanich Peninsula would be a ‘great place’ for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Bruce Hallsor also expects the couple’s professional opportunities to lie outside Greater Victoria

Court rejects mistrial for accused Victoria drug dealer who fired his lawyer

Horst Schirmer filed a mistrial application on basis of receiving incompetent representation

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

Most Read