Trail renaming contest ignites concern before it begins

A contest that could give the E&N Rail Trail a new official name is being contested by Esquimalt.

Council is requesting the Capital Regional District cancel the proposed naming contest for a new pedestrian and cyclist trail being integrated alongside sections of the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway from Victoria to Langford.

Esquimalt Coun. Randall Garrison said he is appalled thousands of dollars could be spent on the initiative, especially in the absence of public consultation.

“I’d like to head off that waste of public money and time, and also the potential removal of the name ‘rail trail’,” he said at last week’s council meeting.

 “It would also take off the name Esquimalt,” Coun. Lynda Hundleby added.

CRD Parks staff have said there is $2,300 available in budget for the contest, and in-kind sponsor support will be explored to offset the cost, which includes publicity and a prize.

“I think that’s one of the purposes of the contest,” said Geoff Young, CRD board chair. “We have to make people aware that (the trail) is there.”

Parks staff also said they’d like to launch the contest in April then announce a winner in June, but the timeline is still being fleshed out. They hope phase 1 of the E&N Rail Trail – the current moniker – will be finished by December.

Some parks committee members and several Esquimalt councillors believe the current trail name is geographically and historically significant.

A disclaimer that a contest entry doesn’t have to be selected would be one way to address concerns, said committee chair and Oak Bay Mayor Christopher Causton.

The contest may even demonstrate the current name is the best one, Young said. “I kind of think the current one is not a bad one. It’ll have to be a pretty good one to convince me we should change it.”

emccracken@vicnews.com

Did you know?

The Galloping Goose Regional Trail was also named through a contest.