Saanich’s Haro Woods management plan aims for respectful use
November 20, 2018
For immediate release
Saanich, BC – The District of Saanich will present the Haro Woods Park final draft management plan for consideration at the December 10 Council meeting.
The management plan contains a guiding vision for respectful use of the park, and supporting goals and actions under the three themes of recreation, protection and access/connection. The plan also references broader corporate policy and guidelines, which support the plan’s direction.
The management plan strives to accommodate visitors of all ages, and resolve long term issues in Haro Woods Park. Key issues addressed by the plan are:
- Lack of an official recreation program and supporting infrastructure;
- Unapproved trail and bike-jump building;
- Damage to native vegetation and soils;
- Degradation of Finnerty Creek;
- Invasive plants; and
- Lack of communication with park visitors.
The management plan recommends no changes to the park’s current P4-N (Natural Park) zoning, which allows walking, hiking, bird watching, dog walking and recreational family cycling. These activities are considered respectful use of the park because they have minimal negative impact on the environment. The main trail system will be improved to ensure accessibility for all ages and abilities.
Off-trail biking, and trail and jump building is defined as active recreation and is not a permitted use of Haro Woods. These activities were considered throughout the process however, support was insufficient to warrant recommending a rezoning that would be required to allow it. Staff are evaluating alternative sites in Saanich to accommodate off-trail bike riding.
Saanich owns two of the four lots that make up the Woods. This 5.8 hectares was officially designated as parkland in 2013. The other two lots are owned by the Capital Regional District (CRD) and the University of Victoria (UVic). The CRD and UVic are committed to maintaining public access across their parcels to achieve a functional trail system.
The development of the management plan included a two-year public engagement process. Public engagement activities included the creation of an advisory group with key stakeholders from the community, 12 advisory group meetings, four open houses and four online surveys with a total of 836 responses.
Read the full final draft management plan at saanich.ca/parks.
Senior Parks Manager