OUR VIEW: Good reason to be cautious about impact on Beaver Lodge Lands

We say: Being careful about damage to forest is warranted

A proposal to develop a mountain bike park in Campbell River is positive and worthwhile project for the community to pursue. Anything that encourages healthy activity involving young people (and old, as well) is win-win for everybody.

Wendy Ravi and Beth Pechter are to be commended for taking action on something they believe will be worthwhile for young and old alike.

Because their concept is an overwhelmingly positive cause, it’s hard to hold up a caution sign on one aspect of it. However necessary, hesitation should not be seen as taking a position against the idea. It just means we need to be careful of its impact on something else that is precious and dear to the community. In this case, we’re talking about the Beaver Lodge Lands (BLL).

The proponents appeared before city council last week and indicated that they had received a less than enthusiastic response from the Beaver Lodge Lands Committee. But don’t condemn the committee as a negative force in the community because of its reserved response. They are charged with managing the provincial forest and has had its issues with mountain biking in the area. Unauthorized construction of damaging trails and jumps is an ongoing issue that impacts the forest and therefore the committee’s caution is warranted.

Using the BLL for a mountain biking facility could be seen as working against the committee’s mandate of doing what’s best for the forest lands. Now, nobody is saying the facility would damage the forest but biking to and from it has an impact and once leaving the facility, cyclists would undoubtedly use the forest trails. The same thing will happen with the currently-proposed lot immediately adjacent to the BLL.

The Beaver Lodge Lands is a multi-use asset in our community that is heavily used by cyclists – responsibly by most. But bicycles have an impact and encouraging more use undoubtedly makes BLL supporters nervous.

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