Petition to Oppose the Shawnigan Village Rail Trail - Keep our Trails Safe and Natural

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Petition to Oppose CVRD's Shawnigan Village Rail Trail  

This petition is meant to give a voice to Shawnigan Lake residents and others who are in opposition of the CVRD's "Rail Trail" proposal.

If you enjoy this trail as it is now and wish to keep it as it is - this petition is for you.

This matter is extremely urgent.

Please visit the following link for CVRD's posted online information:

https://www.cvrd.bc.ca/DocumentCenter/View/89297/SVRT_overviewplan_apr11?bidId=RD's


I became aware of this proposal by a letter addressed to my family giving us 7 business days of formal notice of CVRD's intention to begin clearing the lakefront portion of land between the Water Station to the Wharf park. Legal counsel has been attained as this notice was extremely short - and we were put in a vulnerable position. CVRD have been asked respectfully by legal counsel to postpone/halt operations while an investigation is conducted on this land. 

Below are details on CVRD's plan on Section/Phase 2 - further to the information available online.

For the length of land between the Water Station and the Wharf Park: Land is proposed to be cleared 7.7- 8m east (towards our houses) to accommodate a "2-3 meter" wide gravel trail and 3m west towards the lake. [ Edit: Jan 18, 2019; CVRD have since confirmed no clearing will occur west towards the lake on Phase 2]

As it is now there is a valuable ecosystem in place. Beaver, mink and many bird species including Great Blue Heron - classified by COSEWIC as a species of "special concern" frequent this land. There is a fragile stream here as well which offers habitat. CVRD's plan includes adding a culvert, which will interfere with this habitat.

The water intake for residents and villagers is immediately adjacent to this foreshore strip and should further development be undertaken, water quality could be further adversely affected.

I am writing on behalf of myself and my neighbours all of whom are residents of the area immediately affected by CVRD's proposed Rail Trail. As it now exits, there are many residents and families of the adjoining village that use this area to walk through with care and regard for the well being of the area and the rights of the residents. This delicate stability will be lost entirely if this area is further developed and further known as a public trail.

This proposal will infringe on our privacy and our rights to the quiet enjoyment of our homes. The proposed Rail Trail land area in mention is mainly enclosed by homes of residents - all of whom will be affected by the proposed Rail Trail.
We want this this proposal stopped now, before the threat of future development here can gain any foothold or momentum.

Safety:
We already encounter considerable to extreme problems with noise and vandalism; particularly at night and in summer months. Because of the way this land is situated it is extremely difficult for police to patrol and monitor it. These problems will be worsened by ANY increase in public use. Any clearing of land is further invitation to ATV's and motorbikes which already frequent this trail as well as often drunk and disorderly conduct by tourists that is often observed here in summer months. There is no monitoring or safety protocol in place for the very real influx of public use that this Rail Trail encourages.

Erosion:
Shawnigan Lake is a reservoir for 12000 + residents and already used as a recreational lake for the public. Erosion is already a serious shoreline issue. Clearing this land and inviting further public use will increase an already very real problem.

Parking:
Another real future impact of this Rail Trail will be parking and traffic problems for increased visitors in this area. For example - Heald Rd. and surrounding residential streets are a gridlock of vehicles and boat trailers on the sides of the narrow streets in summer months - often obstructing and blocking residents in. The Rail Trail will increase traffic and parking issues. Heald Rd. is already a very real safety issue in summer months. Any possible future widening of roads would destroy the rural nature of our neighbourhood.

These are the salient reasons why we, the residents most directly affected are opposed to the "Shawnigan Village Rail Trail".

In closing I would like to thank you for allowing us to voice our concerns and our very strongly held opposition to this proposal. With respect, this is our neighbourhood.

The trail - as it is currently - is a beautiful asset of Shawnigan Lake. We wish to keep it exactly as it is now. We respectfully express our opposition to the CVRD's Shawnigan Village Rail Trail.