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EDITORIAL: Goose trail safety a complex issue

Additional lighting in Colwood and elsewhere may be just one solution

In the wake of this week’s brutal attack of a female jogger, who was beaten and sexually assaulted while she travelled along a section of the Galloping Goose Trail in Colwood, people have made various statements,seemingly looking to make sense of this awful event.

Firstly, there can be no explanation for such a heinous, unprovoked attack. We hate the fact that some in our community have focused on the fact the woman had chosen to run on the trail at nighttime, as if to admonish her for making a bad choice.

Some have suggested that additional lighting on the trail would make it more safe, especially for the increasing number of users who take to the route after the sun has gone down.

The unfortunate reality of that option is the cost would be exorbitant to light significant portions of the 55-kilometre Galloping Goose. How would Capital Regional District Parks, which oversees the trail, begin to determine which areas of this largely urban path to illuminate first?

We wonder about the effectiveness of such a strategy, anyway.

The eyes of trail users would take a moment or two to adjust from a brightly lit area to a dark one, a situation that could still leave a person vulnerable to someone hiding out of sight just ahead.

Speaking to the general safety level of the Goose, CRD Parks director Mike Hicks noted that of 100 incidents reported last year between Sooke and Saanich, just seven were classified as serious and the vast majority related to minor incidents like off-leash dogs and public drinking.

While this latest incident proves that even perceived “safe” areas can provide opportunities for those inclined to act out violence on unsuspecting people, living in fear even if only at specific times is a prospect none of us relishes.

We sincerely hope this woman receives the care and time she needs to heal from this horrible experience.

At the same time, we hope we can all learn a little bit from this awful set of circumstances.