A work party of 30 people showed up in the rain on Saturday to distribute two truckloads of gravel along a rebuilt foot path in the Quadra-Maplewood neighbourhood.
For 44 years a path connected the cul-de-sac ends of Duke Street and Bridgeport Place. It was frequented by local area residents for access to Maplewood Avenue and Cedar Hill Golf Course walking trails on the east side, and to access Playfair Park and Quadra Street on the other side.
However, in 2013 the trail’s life ended abruptly when new owners took over a property on Bridgeport and complained vigorously about the trail trespassing across their lot.
“And rightly so,” said Quadra-Cedar Hill Community Association president John Schmuck. “When the subdivisions on Duke and Bridgeport were built around 1971 Saanich tried to connect them back then, but whoever did it didn’t do the proper process. For whatever reason, the residents never complained.”
Schmuck supports the new owner’s right to remove the foot path from their property.
Fortunately, a Saanich right-of-way does exist between the two streets. It wasn’t being followed, likely because of the rugged terrain.
Quadra-Cedar Hill Community Association lobbied with a letter to mayor and council supported by more than 100 signatures to call for a path improvement. And Saanich responded, Schumck said.
“Credit Saanich. We’re really pleased with Saanich engineering, they get a lot of praise.”
Schmuck said the path has served as an alternative route for youth and adults alike. It’s a safe option for people looking to avoid the winding, narrow and traffic-heavy stretch of Tattersall Drive and to reach bus routes and schools on Quadra Street.
To create the new route Saanich assembled a rock wall path on which the work party smoothed out several yards of gravel.
Resident Tom Russell is highly impressed.
“Saanich came through here, they put a great path in and we couldn’t be happier.”
All that’s left is a staircase that Saanich will soon install on the Bridgeport end of the path.
To gather residents the Quadra Cedar Hill association delivered handbills to each house in the neighbourhood explaining the project and asking for help.
“It was a community builder,” Schmuck said. “We were out there shovelling gravel in the rain. There were so many wheelbarrows we had to put a few away because we were running into each other.”