Letters: “Managed” access needed

South Island Recreation Assoc. wanting access to CRD park lands

The Capital Regional District (CRD) has recently proposed to close more of the Sooke back country to recreational access.

The sensible solution to recreational access in the Leech watershed and anywhere else is to issue a key for the gate and a permit to use the road to responsible organizations like the South Island Recreation Association.

SIRA has advocated for designated routes to specified destinations since we put the Harbourview Road issue on the table in 2009, codified it in the Sooke Official Community Plan and successfully petitioned Sooke council to vote the OCP provision into motion in 2010, and put it on the Supreme Court docket in 2014. The fact that tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of tax dollars are being wasted by the CRD defending bad management with enforcement and litigation (Sherwin vs. CRD et al, Sept 2014) is testament to equally bad government.

I have a simple question for the CRD bosses: How is your “no access” policy working?

The only access it “prevents” is that of responsible organizations like SIRA, and it is demonstrably bad practice as evidenced by every significant study of the issue ever done anywhere, not to mention the CRD’s own enforcement reports.

Without exception, managed access results in net harm reduction across the board by any metric measured. The current “no-access” free-for-all is only supported by the CRD et al, garbage dumpers, and other irresponsible parties.

The choice for the CRD is not between access and no access, but between managed access and the current free-for-all.

Not even King John, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and punishment by death could keep the rabble out of Sherwood Forest. Perhaps the CRD should look at that as a teachable moment in history.

Terrance Martin

Executive Director

South Island Recreation Association

Sooke