Langford resident Brian Westwood is worried nearby development is compromising the integrity of trees along Setchfield Trail.

Langford resident Brian Westwood is worried nearby development is compromising the integrity of trees along Setchfield Trail.

Langford resident fears for future of popular trail

Neighbouring private property is being prepped for development

A recent wind storm forced one resident’s safety concerns to the forefront as trees came crashing down on a well used trail off of Setchfield Avenue in Langford.

“Everybody’s really angry down here,” said Langford resident Brian Westwood, noting the trail was very well taken care of by the City, until now.

The trail connects just north of where Setchfield and Shaw avenues meet and continues further north to neighbourhoods off of Bear Mountain Parkway. The popular walkway, which runs adjacent to a creek, is enjoyed by neighbouring residents young and old, Westwood said, noting many children use it to get to Lakewood elementary school.

But now, due to the recent tree removal on a site off Echo Valley Drive which overlooks the Setchfield Avenue end of the trail, Westwood is concerned the integrity of the hillside and the few trees that remain along the creek have been compromised. He’s worried that residents using the path could now be in danger of the remaining trees coming down at any time. “The devastation is beyond belief,” he added.

When voicing his concerns to staff at the City of Langford, Westwood said he told them that the first storm that passes through the area would uproot trees. “Sure enough there’s two trees down,” he said after high winds on Dec. 20.

Thankfully, he added, at the time school was out for the winter break so the hordes of students weren’t on the trail. Although, he noted one of his neighbours – a woman in her late 80s –walks her pug on the trail every day. “I’m just grateful she didn’t get whacked.”

A City of Langford staff member confirmed the developer of the property has obtained the proper development permits and is operating within those specifications, which also require a biologist to supervise the site.

“That hill was heavily forested,” Westwood said. “I don’t know why they would want to do it.”

He added that he often brings his grandchildren to walk on the trail. “It was great,” he said, adding they would see deer and quail. Last year, he noted, the trail was even closed for a few days because there was a cougar sighting in the area. “There won’t be any deer here now.”

Langford parks manager Mike Leskiw noted it is pretty typical for trees to come down during wind storms. “It’s just the nature of trees, sometimes they may have weak root stock,” he said.

He added that several residents in the area phoned to report the downed trees and Langford had crews clean up the debris right away.

“The trail is safe,” he said, adding that the City will continue to monitor it in the future.

He asked that if residents see anything they think is or may become a problem to contact Langford’s parks department right away by phoning city hall at 250-478-7882.

katie@goldstreamgazette.com