A passionate debate is growing in Victoria over whether or not to pave a section of the Lochside Regional Trail between Martindale Road in Central Saanich and Lochside Park in Saanich in Greater Victoria. In addition to the substantial cost involved, doing so would trigger a Captial Regional District (CRD) rule that bans horses from paved CRD trails.
Lochside Trail is a popular multi-use trail used by runners, walkers, bike riders and horseback riders. The prevailing harmony is jeopardized by those who complain that the surface is too soft, and the trail is muddy at times. They complain about the wood chips laid on one side of the trail for the benefit of horses, and they whine about the horse droppings on the trail and having to slow down so as not to spook or collide with a horse. They want the trail paved and the horses gone.
This is not a city trail. This is a rural section of a multi-use trail. Instead of embracing the opportunity to enjoy a fabulous stretch of trail through trees and farmlands, we search for the minutest inconvenience, then demand that it be rectified so we can ride or run on a paved trail without muddying our equipment, or we don’t have to slow down or respect a horse and rider, or so the spandex peloton can blast along at 50 km per hour on racing road bikes. When a special-interest group demands their rights, it invariably infringes upon the rights of others.