The Juan de Fuca Community Trails Society is proposing to introduce a new trails system that would connect parks and green spaces in Sooke.
The system includes three trails: the first, Stickleback Trail, would connect the Galloping Goose Regional Trail at Kirby Road to the Sooke Centre and Broom Hill; the second is Sea Walk Trail, that would connect the town centre with the Rotary Pier; and the third is Sun Run Trail, which would connect Poirier School to the Sunriver area and Sooke River park lands.
“We want to encourage people to utilize the green space, parks and trails in the area, and we have designed this system to have maximum impact with minimum costs,” said Sid Jorna, president of the Juan de Fuca Community Trails Society.
He said the purpose of creating and having this trail system recognized is also to draw people into the inner core and attract more tourism.
“People can walk or ride their bikes from place to place without having to be on the road all the time, and for tourists it gives them a sense of where they can walk in Sooke as opposed to just passing through on Highway 14,” said Jorna.
A lot of these trails are already in place, it would just be a matter of adding signage along them, building a kiosk with a map of the system, and adding connectors such as the DeMamiel Creek Crossing, which is already being planned.
“We would also like to see some community involvement to clean up the parks in the area, and maybe some upgrades to existing trails,” said Jorna.
Mayor Maja Tait thought the system was an excellent idea that would improve options for pedestrians to get around town safely, help people recognize where all the trails and parks are in the area, and encourage people to use alternate forms of transportation such as walking or biking.
“It’s something that I always had wanted to see, and I look forward to seeing a [municipal] staff report to see how we can implement it,” Tait said. “Because a lot of the work is already finished, I get the sense that the system won’t be too expensive to start implementing.”
Tait expects council to discuss the trails system soon, where councillors will look at ways to fund the project.
The trails system was proposed at an informal meeting Friday morning to discuss improvements to parks and trails in the area.
Other topics that were considered at the meeting was improving the safety of trail connections, creating more water access points for people, adding washrooms along trails in the area, the possibility of building a dog park, how to upgrade or reinvent Whiffin Spit, and addressing the problem of people not picking up after their dogs at Whiffin Spit.