LETTER: Guidelines would allow shared use of Haro Woods

LETTER: Guidelines would allow shared use of Haro Woods

Regarding the debate over the appropriate use of Haro Woods: If we take the perspective of a park as a form of recreation facility, we already have many precedents for mixed use/limits on activities within most of our facilities to cater to different user groups. For example, the pool has an “adult swim” and “lengths only” time-slots, certain beaches ban dogs during the summer months, etc….

There is already a baseline bylaw/guideline outlining trail types and permitted uses in the region. Within the framework of the trail guidelines it should be possible to define guidelines for Haro and other similar small urban green space parks (e.g. Konukson) that minimize environmental damage while maximizing access and enjoyment for the public.

Simple guidelines – no off trail biking except in specially designated “bike park” areas. Perhaps no biking at all for certain months of the year (except for trails considered part of a commuter corridor) when the terrain is most vulnerable or for certain “time out” periods that give the local fauna and trails a chance to recover. (As advised by Saanich park experts).

If the “bike park” and natural trail system overlap – perhaps restrictions on hours of use to minimize conflict between hikers and bikers. Clear signage to such effect with the potential for fines. Discussion with the local community, “friends/keepers of the park” groups and Saanich to align/agree on restrictions and jointly monitor compliance.

Saanich small parks are a great asset to the community, unfortunately the size of most mean that they are more fragile and less resilient eco-systems than the larger parks.

Even if left completely untouched they will degrade due to their inability to defend against invading species and absorb the impacts of special weather events (windstorms, fires). More intensive but responsibly guided use of the parks should lead to more committed/caring users and hopefully more resources for stewardship and sustainment.

Graham Payette

Saaniche