This map of Haro Woods show its political boundaries. Saanich council will consider a report Monday that confirms the ban on “active” biking in the area. (District of Saanich photo)

Battle over Saanich’s Haro Woods not yet over, says report

Draft management plan calls on Saanich to spend $142,500 to improve area

A report predicts “active” bicyclists will “shift” away from a popular recreation area, but also raises the prospect of on-going conflicts between various users.

The Haro Woods draft management plan recommends Saanich retains the current park zoning on the Saanich-owned portion of the popular recreation park after lengthy deliberations over “active” bicycling in the area failed to reach what the report calls “consensus” during the drafting of the plan.

RELATED: Draft plan bans off-trail biking in Saanich’s Haro Woods

This decision means “walking, hiking, bird watching, dog walking and recreational family cycling” remain permitted uses on the two lots that Saanich owns. The area itself consists out of four distinct lots, with the University of Victoria and the Capital Regional District owning one each.

By its own admission, the report notes that the subject of “active biking” — or off-trail biking — was the “most contentious,” because it has led to the unauthorized construction of trails and jumps among other features. “Over the years, it has disrupted other recreational activities, upset other park visitors, damaged trails, trees and underground vegetation, caused erosion and contributed to the spread of evasive plants,” it reads. This drew the ire of area residents, who called on Saanich to enforce the ban on “active” biking.

RELATED: Saanich won’t put brakes on Haro Woods cyclists

The introduction of “active biking” — once considered during an earlier stage of the drafting stage — would have required a zoning change, a process that would have likely triggered a divisive debate. While the plan’s recommendation for the status quo lowers the likelihood of such a debate, it does not necessarily eliminate it.

“It’s important to note that while the management plan recommends no changes to the park’s current [zoning] to accommodate active biking, there still exists a strong supportive voice in the community for youth biking facilities (i.e. youth park),” it reads.

While staff are currently evaluating alternative sites to accommodate active biking, not all of them appear on Saanich-owned land, it reads.

“With the increase in operational resources to monitor and remove biking elements in Haro Woods and the potential for a dedicated active biking facility to be established elsewhere in Saanich, it is anticipated there will be a shift away from active bikers using Haro Woods,” it reads.

The report suggests that cyclists might have been their own worst enemies. According to the report, Saanich staff met with “some cyclists” — the report does not identify them by name or organization — to express “concern” about unauthorized biking activities.

“Unfortunately, damaging activities continued to occur,” it reads.

Overall, the report calls on Saanich to spend $142,500 over the next 10 years to improve signage, trails and overall accessibility.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Disturbing sexual, criminal trends with Greater Victoria youth on the rise

Family counsellors see unprecedented rise in youth sexual assaults and exploitation of children

Flurry of Yuletide activities coming to Sidney

Sidney Business Improvement Area Society and members organize festive events

Russell Books marks opening of new location by setting Guinness World Record

Store stacks world record books more than six metres high

Petition calls on province to cover transfer fees after Island adoption centre closes – again

‘Choices clients weren’t told the ship was sinking,’ says would-be parent

PHOTOS: 11th annual Gingerbread Showcase comes to Victoria

Bakers spent more than 100 hours perfecting their creations

VIDEO: B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

POLL: Do you support CUPE workers in their dispute with School District 63?

SD63 schools to remain closed as strike continues Tuesday

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 12

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Seguin lifts surging Stars to 4-2 win over Canucks

Dallas is 6-0-1 in last seven outings

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

Batten down the hatches: Wet and windy weekend on the way for coastal B.C.

Environment Canada issues special weather warning for Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

Tolko shuts B.C. divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

Most Read