Emerald residents pushing for solution to Crown land access 

RMOW continues to 'review and consider' options

click to enlarge PHOTO FROM REDDIT - access denied Long-standing access to the Crown land surrounding One Duck Lake, pictured, has been effectively cut off from Emerald as private land gets developed.
  • Photo from reddit
  • access denied Long-standing access to the Crown land surrounding One Duck Lake, pictured, has been effectively cut off from Emerald as private land gets developed.

When Marjo Vierros bought her house in Emerald Estates 10 years ago, one of the deciding factors was the proximity of the surrounding forest.

It was a place where she could walk her dog, or go for a hike, or snowshoe in the winter, or swim in One Duck Lake. But that has all changed this summer. The long-standing access to the surrounding Crown land has been effectively cut off from the northern neighbourhood as private land gets developed, revealing the startling fact that there is no legal access to the forest around Emerald.

"It's really part of the lifestyle and the quality of life for all us who live here to be able to access those trails and (it was) part of my decision to move to this neighbourhood," she said.

"You feel much more connected to the natural world around you."

Vierros and other residents are angry and upset that they can no longer access the Crown land surrounding them.

She wants to keep the pressure on Municipal Hall and keep the issue on the public radar.

"It would definitely be nice for us to know that there are some negotiations that are taking place or that people are actively looking into solutions to this dilemma at the moment," said Vierros.

"It would be nice if they could update us on what's happening."

When contacted this week, the municipal communications department said there was no further update and emailed this statement: "The RMOW continues to review and consider what options exist to secure a public trail to the Crown lands behind the Emerald Estate subdivision."

Resident Sarah Jervis said for the longest time people have viewed it as public property, not really knowing that their access stretched over private land.

"I empathize with the landowners," said Jervis. "We wrongly assumed all these years that it was public property. The municipality has let the community down in the sense that they didn't plan for it.

"(These landowners) are bearing the brunt of the municipality's poor planning.

"It just sucks for us that we no longer have the use of it."

The area is well used. Jervis estimates on some days 100 people go up into the forest to use the mountain bike trails, the wiffle golf course or the pump track or simply just to walk and be in nature.

For her it was an easy 45-minute mountain bike loop. The change means she hasn't been on her bike as much this summer.

"It's really, really sad," said Jervis, who is not optimistic. "Nothing can be done. It's too late."

For Vierros it means she has to put her dog in the car and drive to another trail in town to take her dog for a walk in the forest.

In the meantime, the municipality has retained access to the water reservoir, along the old route to the trailhead, for servicing and maintenance purposes only.

The Emerald trails and One Duck Lake can be accessed from Baxter Creek via Ashleigh McIvor Drive and from Alpine Meadows via Valley Drive.

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