Vic­to­ria res­i­dents con­cerned about pos­si­ble all-pur­pose trail

Con­cerns pro­posed lo­ca­tion pro­vides nu­mer­ous safety is­sues

The Compass - - Front Page - BY CHRIS LEWIS

We don’t want to see any­one get hurt be­cause of this trail or, heaven for­bid, get killed.

— Art Kel­loway

Some res­i­dents of Vic­to­ria have con­cerns about the safety of an all-pur­pose trail that may be com­ing to the com­mu­nity in the fu­ture.

In early to mid-2017, the be­gin­ning stages of a trail that would run through Vic­to­ria be­gan, with some brush clear­ing tak­ing place and ground work be­ing car­ried out by an out­side group.

By fol­low­ing this trail, one would find them­selves com­ing up to Hil­lview Drive, as well as Route 70 — a ma­jor high­way that runs through the com­mu­nity, and one that sees plenty of traf­fic on a daily ba­sis from res­i­dents and peo­ple pass­ing through the com­mu­nity.

Im­me­di­ate prob­lems

The pur­pose of the trail is to pro­vide Vic­to­ria with an allpur­pose path, us­able by those on off-road ve­hi­cles, as well as those who would pre­fer to travel by foot.

How­ever, there are a num­ber of res­i­dents in the area who saw some im­me­di­ate prob­lems with the trail. They have since come to­gether as a con­cerned cit­i­zens group, with some mem­bers also tak­ing on a role in the ad hoc Trail Com­mit­tee – a group that was put into place af­ter it was dis­cov­ered there were no per­mits in place for work to be­gin on the trail. They now meet with one another to dis­cuss the fu­ture of the trail.

Art Kel­loway is one such res­i­dent. His prop­erty comes quite close to the edge of the trail, and he has been an out­spo­ken mem­ber of the com­mu­nity for quite some time as he works with coun­cil and res­i­dents as the town pur­sues this en­deav­our.

“We asked the town to put a stop work or­der on it when we saw what was hap­pen­ing, and they did,” said Kel­loway. “We dis­cov­ered there were no per­mits in place for any of this, and it was just a group of peo­ple who got to­gether to do it. We’ve had a cou­ple of meet­ings with this ad hoc Com­mit­tee with the in­ten­tions of find­ing an al­ter­nate route.

“We said (the cur­rent) route right now will never fly, be­cause you’d have peo­ple com­ing out on to the main streets in their off-road ve­hi­cles. We wanted to go look­ing for an al­ter­nate route in or­der to avoid those is­sues.”

Safety

The is­sues Kel­loway noted mainly re­volved around safety. As peo­ple make use of the trail, they would soon ap­proach Route 70 and, in or­der to con­tinue along the trail, would have

to make a brief trek down the paved high­way, last­ing ap­prox­i­mately 0.2-kilo­me­tres.

Kel­loway, along­side fel­low con­cerned ci­ti­zen David Byrne, see this as not only a ma­jor safety is­sue, but also a vi­o­la­tion of pro­vin­cial reg­u­la­tions, which state that off-road ve­hi­cles have no place on pro­vin­cial high­ways.

“To us, it’s a mat­ter of safety,” Kel­loway said. “Peo­ple walk in this area all the time, and chil­dren play.

“We don’t want to see any­one get hurt be­cause of this trail or, heaven for­bid, get killed.”

How­ever, as the weeks have gone by, Kel­loway feels that he is the only one the com­mit­tee is re­ly­ing on to find this new route. He told The Com­pass that, af­ter meet­ing with coun­cil on sev­eral oc­ca­sions, he was un­der the im­pres­sion that the trail was not go­ing to go ahead, how­ever, he be­lieves there are some steps be­ing taken be­hind the scenes to see the com­ple­tion of the trail.

Up in the air

Vic­to­ria Mayor Barry Doo­ley told The Com­pass that, as of Thurs­day evening, June 28, the fu­ture of the trail is still up in the air, as the town is still wait­ing to hear back on their Crown land ap­pli­ca­tions, and other such ap­pli­ca­tions that would give them per­mis­sion to de­velop such a trail in the com­mu­nity.

Doo­ley also noted that coun­cil had given the ad hoc com­mit­tee a time­frame to find an al­ter­nate route, but did not hear back within the given time.

“We al­ready gave one op­por­tu­nity and we heard nothing,” said Doo­ley. “Now, this is the sec­ond chance.

“We’re ba­si­cally say­ing, ‘OK, well if you’ve got an al­ter­nate route, we want to hear the de­tails, and we’ll go from there.’ Right now, we’re still wait­ing on that pro­posal.”

Pre­lim­i­nary stages

Doo­ley said the trail is still in the pre­lim­i­nary stages, and the chances of any trail be­ing de­vel­oped in the town rely solely on the Crown land ap­pli­ca­tions. If those are de­nied, Doo­ley said the chances of a trail are ul­ti­mately dead in the wa­ter.

Doo­ley also noted he would be reach­ing out to Kel­loway in or­der to set up a meet­ing to dis­cuss the route, as both par­ties seemed to have been un­der the im­pres­sion that they were wait­ing on one another.

Ul­ti­mately, as Kel­loway and Byrne ex­plained to The Com­pass, the res­i­dents who have ex­pressed con­cerns are not op­posed to a trail en­tirely. In fact, Byrne openly wel­comed the idea, but wanted to en­sure it was done right, with the proper safety pre­cau­tions taken into ac­count.

“I don’t want peo­ple to think we’re here try­ing to put a stop to the trail com­pletely, that’s not the case,” he said. “We just want to make sure it’s put in a place that makes sense, and doesn’t put other peo­ple at risk.”

CHRIS LEWIS/THE COM­PASS

Pic­tured from left to right are Clyde Mur­ray, Wil­lis Parsons, Den­nis Byrne and Art Kel­loway, some of the con­cerned cit­i­zens who take is­sue with the pos­si­ble all-pur­pose trail, which would come close to their own prop­er­ties.

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