EDITORIAL: Compromise preserves future of Haro Woods

It’s an unexpected treasure nestled away off the beaten path on the northwestern edge of Saanich’s Cadboro Bay neighbourhood. Located off Arbutus Road, Haro Woods is valued for its natural beauty and is popular with users of all types: hikers dog walkers, joggers and cyclists.

But the growing popularity of Haro Woods is bringing its user groups into conflict, both on and off the trails. With more and more cyclists using the trails, in some cases building jumps and making other alterations, the potential for serious injury to those walking the trails cannot be ignored.

Saanich staff is developing a draft plan for Haro Woods that aims to work out these conflicts, having surveyed the public on their preferences.

“Staff have made every effort to avoid this becoming a confrontational issue and have been actively working with the cycling community to find a solution that balances their desires with those in the community who want to preserve and protect the environment,” said Coun. Dean Murdock, who chairs Saanich’s parks, trails and recreation advisory committee.

Haro Woods’ nearly 22 acres provides more than enough area to accommodate all users. A separate area could be cordoned off from the rest of Haro Woods, where cyclists would be free to build ramps, jumps and other trail features without jeopardizing the safety of other users. The draft management plan recognizes this potential compromise, noting a biking area “will only proceed if sufficient support is received.”

Murdock is supportive of the idea, saying “creating a sanctioned park area for cyclists’ use could be a practical way to manage its use and avoid further environmental damage outside of the contained area.”

Haro Woods almost never came to be. When Saanich acquired property there (the University of Victoria and Capital Regional District also own portions of the land) in 1961 it was intended for a potential sewage treatment plant. There’s no doubt that users should be able to find compromise to preserve their enjoyment of this treasured retreat that almost never came to be.

Just Posted

Retired Gordon Head teacher not ready to ride into the sunset

86-year-old keeping active with marathon paddling trek and week-long cycling tour

Parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died at his Oak Bay home Friday, after taking street drugs

Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations open new RV Park

Both nations excited about new economic venture

Lack of security: why Vancouver Island food production is on the decline

Big Read: agriculture a big, expensive commitment as advocates push to make us more food secure

Ready for day two at the Home Expo

One exhibitor, Atlas Junk Removal, uses their trucks for a good cause

VIDEO: Moose found licking salt off B.C. man’s pickup truck

Tab Baker was in his garage in Prince George when the small moose gave his truck a clean

UVic’s Gustavson goes carbon neutral for air travel

As a way to offset the frequent airplane travel that comes with… Continue reading

Child’s body found in river downstream from where boy went missing during flood

Three-year-old Kaden Young was swept out of his mother’s arms in February

B.C. VIEWS: Eliminating efficiency for farm workers

Don’t worry, NDP says, the B.C. economy’s booming

Spring Home Show this weekend in Colwood

West Shore Parks and Recreation will be transformed to showcase everything home related

Saanich mayor recommends fall referendum on future amalgamation talks

A Saanich councillor applauds the possibility of a referedum on whether Saanich… Continue reading

B.C. student makes short-list for autism advocacy award

Brody Butts honoured for his role as a mentor and self-advocate

Dinosaurs taking centre stage at National Geographic event

NatGeo Live series finale May 2 at the Royal features renowned paleontologist

Most Read