Plans to create a trail through a 244-hectre provincially owned woodlot in Lantzville, commonly referred to as the Copley trail area, are moving ahead.
Woodlot 1475 has been used by Lantzville residents for decades for recreational activities such as hiking, horseback riding and cycling. But the Copley trail and its various side paths are informal and were created by different user groups over the years.
Lantzville’s parks and recreation commission is now working with the province in a joint partnership to create legitimate trails and improve accessibility and safety.
Coun. Denise Haime, chairwoman of the commission, said if the district meets provincial criteria, liability issues will be dealt with by the province.
“We wanted to make a trail system where the community isn’t on the hook,” she said.
The creation of a woodlot trail system was identified in the district’s 2010 Trails and Journeyways strategy report.
“We’re trying to make connector routes,” said Haime.
The routes would give residents an alternative method to navigate through the community by walking or cycling.
Because Lantzville’s population is aging, the commission also wants to provide recreational activities close to where people live and increase safety, as the comunity doesn’t have paved sidewalks separating pedestrians from traffic, Haime said.
Any provincial approval of trail construction in the woodlot requires consultation with the woodlot licence holder, John Gregson and the Nanoose First Nation.
Haime said the commission has sent correspondence to the First Nation about the proposal, but hasn’t spoken to any representatives about the plan. She said Gregson is supportive of the plan.
Lantzville completed a 1.6-kilometre trail route, identified in the Trails and Journeyways Strategy, from Aulds Road to Ware Road, in early November last year. The trail was completed with the help of a $400,000 Towns of Tomorrow grant, which covered half of the $800,000 project cost.