Witty’s stairs could easily be repaired, mayor says

CRD Parks to undertake another safety study

The perceived problems with the stairs at Witty’s Lagoon can be easily cured with a dose of common sense, says Metchosin Mayor John Ranns.

He doesn’t see a need to replace the stairs or stabilize the slope, despite the findings in a Capital Regional District Parks engineering report that indicated the slope the stairs are built on is unstable. The report pegged the cost of stair replacement and slope stabilization at between $700,000 and $1.3 million.

“I’ve been up and down that slope for six decades and it hasn’t moved in my lifetime,” Ranns said. “There are lots of trees and brush on the slope and I doubt if it will move at all unless there’s a major earthquake, in which case all bets are off.”

He estimates the stairs could easily be replaced for about $30,000, or repaired for far less than that at about $3,000.

Ranns insists that if engineering reports were done for similar areas in parks throughout the CRD, the result would be the same. “There’s no evidence of a public hazard there greater than what you would encounter in a lot of parks.”

He sees the issue as symptomatic of a problem that is becoming more prevalent in society.

“When dealing with bureaucracy, the application of common sense becomes more difficult. Someone asks a question, an engineering report gets done, insurance companies get involved and you’re on the hook,” Ranns said. “As a society, we have to take a solid look at what we’re doing to ourselves. The direction we should be heading is to put our attention toward finding out how other jurisdictions manage the risks, instead of shutting things down.”

Laurie Sthamann, communications co-ordinator for CRD Parks, said although the stairs will remain closed for the time being, the CRD board has directed staff to provide a report on risks associated with not removing the stairs. “The board will consider the issue again in the coming months,” she said.

Ranns cites the U.S., arguably one of the most litigious jurisdictions in the world, as an example, pointing out that he has visited many parks there with far worse hazards, with little or no safety measures in place.

CRD Parks closed access to the stairs in February of 2014 following the initial report citing safety concerns, and in August extended the closure to the end of the year.

Witty’s Lagoon beach is still accessible from the main parking lot off Metchosin Road via a 1.2-kilometre beach trail through the forest. The beach can also be reached through Tower Point off Olympic View Drive on a 500-metre path that offers picnic areas and ocean views.

news@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Victoria seniors want to know more about marijuana

Four presentations on the medical properties of cannabis for seniors come to Victoria

Rickter Scale: California Dreaming with Steve Shutt

The Rickter Scale is a weekly column in the Goldstream News Gazette

Victoria gears up to axe free parking on Sundays

Council vote puts Sunday parking fees towards bus passes for youth

Black Press readers share photos of their favourite critters on #LoveYourPetDay

Greater Victoria is raining cats and dogs…and snails and goats

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

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

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Nanaimo edges Royal Bay by one point to win Vancouver Island AAA girls basketball title

Nanaimo District Secondary School wins first AAA girls’ Island title in 29 years

City of Port Alberni cancels tourist train operations for 2019

Steam train to McLean Mill is out of commission for repairs; city wants to re-examine rail costs

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

Most Read