Road ends and Public Lake Access
by: Area B Director Sierra Acton
On November 28th I hosted a Director’s Meeting that highlighted the many jurisdictions surrounding road ends and lake access. It was well attended, with almost 100 people filling the meeting space. There were representatives from CVRD Parks, CVRD Bylaw Enforcement, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI), RCMP and Conservation. Although MOTI clearly stated that road ends are public right of ways and the public has a right to use them, it appears that no one wants to take full responsibility for enforcing the rules that surround their use. The Ministry owns the road ends, but to date, has not taken action to address the blocking of road ends through fences, construction etc. However, going forward the MOTI has committed to helping the community with a few key offenders. The CVRD is limited to enforcing zoning; there is a W4 zone that allows for public use of a road end, but prohibits the construction of private docks. Conservation prohibits disruption of the riparian area and any removal of vegetation without proper permits. Finally, the RCMP is only a phone call away if a disagreement about the use of a road end requires police intervention.
Currently the CVRD does manage 3 Parks/Beaches, Memory Island and 4 Road ends:
In 2014 the CVRD was all set to manage two new road ends, but the CVRD and the Director at the time decided not to pursue them due to disagreements in the neighbourhoods in question. In any given neighbourhood there are always mixed feelings about making a road end into a public park. Increase use can create parking issues, litter and noise complaints to name a few of the challenges. The CVRD has a mandate for regional issues that benefit the community at large and in many cases, neighbourhoods want access, but not necessarily a CVRD ‘promoted’ public park. If you are passionate about increasing public access to the lake, I want to help make that vision a reality. Please step forward and let me know. This issue has been talked about for many years because it’s not an easy one to solve, but a determined community can accomplish a lot.
If you have a road end issue I would suggest the following:
There are over 70 public right of ways on Shawnigan Lake. However, not all road ends are accessible, since some may be too steep and some are better left as wildlife corridors. Road end maps are available online or at the Shawnigan Lake Museum for a small fee. There are many road ends that people currently enjoy, so be a great neighbour and share your favourite one in the community. My top 3 are Tranent/Kews Rd, Munsie Rd and Millicent Rd.
As always I’m available in person, by phone or email. LOVE IT, SHARE IT, PROTECT IT!