The province is ensuring public access to the roadway leading to Gabriola Island’s Green’s Landing Wharf by securing its legal status.
The roadway crosses onto private property, and while residents have used it for decades, its legal status was never resolved.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has been negotiating with the landowner since early spring to ensure public access.
Kirsten Pedersen, district manager of Vancouver Island for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, said the negotiations with the landowner are ongoing but the ministry is in the process of finalizing them.
“This has solved a long-standing problem and we are grateful that we can fully use Wharf Road as a public roadway,” said Jack Schick chairman of the Green Wharf Preservation Society, in an e-mail.
He said members of the society are “quite happy” that both the federal and provincial government recognized the importance of having a good, well-maintained roadway for the public.
The road, commonly referred as Wharf Road, was not surveyed as a dedicated public road, but the ministry is committed to maintaining the road for safe and reliable access for residents to the wharf, said Pedersen.
She said the province recognizes continued public access to the federally-owned Green Wharf is important to residents, especially Mudge Islanders.
The wharf is an important link between Gabriola and Mudge islands for daily commuting and in emergency situations. Schick said residents have used the access road that connects Green’s Landing Wharf to South Road on Gabriola for years, and there is evidence of the road being used by the public starting in 1879.
Last year the Regional District of Nanaimo contemplated taking over control of Green’s Landing Wharf when the federal government announced in 2010 that is sought to divest itself of the property.
Before the federal government could transfer the water lot it needed to resolve some requirements, which included consulting with First Nations and consulting with the landowner for road access.
Howard Houle, RDN director for electoral area B (Gabriola, Decourcy and Mudge islands), said the RDN looked at taking over Green’s Landing Wharf in the past, but there are currently no plans to apply for control of the wharf.
He said the RDN board would have to have a staff report and look at the implications of taking over the wharf before any decision is made.