LETTER: Cyclists deserve access to Haro Woods

Re: Cyclists were causing damage to Haro Woods. I applaud Katrina Madsen’s evident involvement in efforts to preserve Haro Woods, as a forest and as a public space. Her account of the long process of preventing development of the land is interesting, and the story of how the word got out that Haro Woods was open for bike jumps and off-trail cycling is an amusing cautionary tale.

READ ALSO: Council approves plan banning cycling in Haro Woods

But the fact remains that of all the parties interested in the woods and its potential – from sewage facility promoters, to developers, to park-using members of the public – the one party whose interests were not considered, apparently, was the group of young bike enthusiasts. Are such people and their passion, young though they may be, not part of the everyone for whom Haro Woods has been restored and protected and available to be enjoyed long into the future?

READ ALSO: Saanich honours lifetime of conservation efforts

Democracy thrives on mutual respect, and to ignore the needs and wishes of part of the community because they don’t fit council’s notions of proper activities on public land shows extreme lack of respect for their holders.

Let’s not get carried away with bylaws and regulations – they can be changed.

READ ALSO: Saanich councillor says new bike skills park promises to improve recreational opportunities

I’m not attempting to defend the sloppy mess left by the bikers, nor their damage to trees and bushes if such things were done. But I suspect that only a mutually agreeable settlement of differences, acceptable to all parties, will ensure a peaceful future for Haro Woods.

If bike trails and bike parks can be allowed and/or provided in North Vancouver and Lacombe, Alta., then it can be done in Saanich. Come on, Parks and Rec – we can do better.

Colin Castle

Saanich

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