Restoration work complete on 45-year-old trail

Staircase with bike track built on trail between Duke Street and Bridgeport Place

Saanich Police bike patrol’s Const. Niki Hodgkinson rolls her bike down the stairway bike track

Saanich Police bike patrol’s Const. Niki Hodgkinson rolls her bike down the stairway bike track

The pedestrian pathway between the cul-de-sacs of Duke Street and Bridgeport Place was officially opened on Saturday.

A group of Saanich citizens attended the ribbon cutting for the Duke to Bridgeport trail, which was rebuilt this winter with a rock wall, and recently completed with a staircase descending onto Bridgeport.

Coun. Susan Brice cut the ribbon as the chair of Saanich’s parks and trails advisory committee, with Mayor Richard Atwell also there to celebrate the opening.

Atwell was impressed by the staircase’s key feature, a bike track to allow cyclists to dismount and walk up and down the stairs.

“The staircase is an interesting project, the bike track makes it a pleasant experience for cyclists and it’s now a high-quality trail that connects two walkable corridors in that area,” Atwell said. “It’s a partnership between community neighbours and Saanich, it took collaboration in order to get the trail restored.”

The path has served as an alternative route for youth and adults alike for 45 years. It’s a safer 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.

When the subdivisions on Duke and Bridgeport were built around 1971 Saanich connected them by a trail. Whoever did it, however, put the path across residential property.

For whatever reason, the homeowner never complained, said John Schmuck, vice-president of the Quadra Cedar Hill Community Association.

When a new owner took over last year, they were not interested in the path cutting through their yard. That’s when Schmuck and Saanich recognized a right-of-way did exist and the path was moved to its new home.

Once the rock walls for the trail were erected, Saanich dropped off a truck load of gravel and sand. The community rallied on a rainy fall Saturday to put the sand on the trail with wheelbarrows and shovels.

“Give credit to Saanich engineering and crew, they deserve it,” Schmuck said.