Prior to Sunday’s brutal attack on a jogger in Colwood, Capital Regional District Parks staff were already studying the possibility of adding lights along stretches of the Galloping Goose Trail.
But parks committee chair Mike Hicks isn’t sure if it’ll end up being a viable project.
The study, which was ongoing prior to Sunday night’s attack near Pickford Road, is looking into the financial case for lighting along the many dark portions of the 55-kilometre route, but Hicks doesn’t believe there’s an easy solution to safety concerns.
“There’s no silver bullet for this problem … there’s just so much territory, it’s difficult to do much more than we’re doing,” he said. He added that there aren’t any particular problem areas the CRD can point to when it comes to safety.
According to Hicks, over 100 police incidents have been reported over the last year on the Goose between Sooke and Saanich, with seven of those considered “serious.” The rest are considered minor and range from the use of ATVs to owners walking their dogs off-leash.
“We talk to the police and the police tell us to tell our patrons to be careful. I don’t know if there’s anything more we could do,” he said. “Obviously (the trails) aren’t totally safe … (But) I don’t think the Galloping Goose is any less safe than anywhere else.”
Some area residents who use the Goose on a daily basis say they wouldn’t feel safe on the trail’s quieter stretches through Colwood and Langford at night.
Chris Swiston, who was on the trail walking his large dog on Tuesday afternoon, uses the trail every day in the morning and sometimes later in the evening.
“I’m an old army guy, so I do (feel safe). But if I was a younger kid or adult, absolutely not … It’s a dangerous place,” he said. “There’s no lights anywhere along the Goose.”
Mack LaPlante uses the trail to get to and from work, but said he doesn’t use the trail at night.
“Sometimes I feel it’s safe, but other times it’s just like a paranoia,” he said, adding that he would be more inclined to use the trail at night if there were lights.