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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria gets new collegiate baseball team, training facility

Golden Tide coach wants to see as many local kids play for the HarbourCats as possible

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Greater Victoria

Thunderstorm may produce strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain, warns Environment Canada

Sooke couple that owned Sooke Harbour House given $4 million after lengthy court case

B.C. Supreme Court rules in favour of Frederique and Sinclair Philip

Local MP Elizabeth May likes aspects of throne speech, but questions execution

According to May nobody is as ‘reckless’ as BC’s John Horgan in dismissing snap election

Sooke councillor pitches another way to improve transit

Coun. Jeff Bateman wants free passes for youth on local routes

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Cops for Cancer: COVID-19 can’t stop Tour de Rock

‘having the chance to come back and ride this year means everything to me’

People ‘disgusted’ by COVID-19 election call, B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson speaks to municipal leaders from Victoria

Most Read