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CRD plans to widen and light the Lochside trail beside the Nature Sanctuary.

Let's consider all angles before spending $13.2 - $17.8 million on infrastructure that will require expensive upkeep!

Here are some documents expressing the concerns for wildlife and the natural areas that these plans could negatively affect:

Letter from a concerned citizen:

Dear CRD Board Director,

I am concerned that this project, while including many upgrades and benefits, could have a negative impact on our community if not done properly. Removing trees and high shrubs to accommodate the larger trail would expose many homes to trail users decreasing their privacy and making them more vulnerable to theft and vandalism. Lighting the trestle and the valley trail would drastically change the nightscape presently enjoyed in this area. Construction along the Lochside stream poses a risk for erosion that would have to be addressed.

A fundamental flaw in your planning is to only consider the trail bordering Swan Lake as having nature values. The next section from Saanich Rd, to Quadra is an extension of Swan Lake. The valley under the trestle is managed by Swan Lake and contains the Lochside stream corridor. The trestle itself provides major habitat for ever more endangered native bats that extensively hunt the entire valley and lake area. All of the trail corridor is used by nature and that should be part of your management plan, but certainly you must extend your concern for nature values to include the Quadra to Saanich segment.

You also need to consider in your planning your impact on neighbouring residents. Some sections of trail are urban in nature with few residing neighbours but other sections run right through neighbourhoods. The section from Swan Lake to Quadra has hundreds of residents many with direct views of the trail, street crossings, trestle and valley. Many of the residents of Greenridge Cres. Taine Pl, Leeds Pl, Lodge Ave, and Hulford St. have views of the trail and will directly experience the loss of trees and new lighting. By my quick count in this section of the trail there are about 80 residences you have left out of your planning considerations.

Nowhere does your plan address their concerns about loss of privacy through removal of high shrubs and trees, or security from the increasing rate of crime perpetuated from the trail into neighbourhoods. Lighting the trail will also destroy the nightscape of many residents adding even more light pollution to our area. Some people actually live below the trestle and your plan calls for a 5 m light standard to be added to that so they will have the light shining down on them. Trail lighting, if needed at all, should always be of a type that limits light pollution no matter where it is. It could be mounted on low standards or even provided at ground level but there should be none at all in the nature sanctuary areas of Swan Lake and Swan Trestle.

Please take the time to represent the concerns of our Saanich neighbourhood at the CRD level and rethink this plan to meet our needs as well as the trail users.

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