A dispute of public versus private trail access is gaining some clarity.
Vernon residents wanting to take advantage of the Adventure Bay area have come up against trespassing signs twice now this year.
The city was contacted by the landowner’s representative in the spring of 2020 regarding some difficulties they were having with the public using private trails in the Tavistock area. Users were reportedly not following physical distancing and not following the rules of the trails.
“As these concerns continued to escalate the developer closed the trails to the public,” Vernon’s long range planning and sustainability manager Laurie Cordell said. “This was raised as a concern by some members of the public and has, unfortunately, resulted in conflict and unkind behaviours towards the private property owner and authorized users.”
The city has an agreement to provide trail access and a park as part of the development. But the only portion of public trail constructed is known as the Tavistock Nature Trail.
“It’s only a very short peice of this trail that is the public portion,” Mayor Victor Cumming said.
The issues arose around other trail sections because there is a portion that the general public has been using long before the development.
“We were upset to see that the adventure bay trail has been blocked for parking and now closed to the public,” Laura Kershaw said in a Vernon Rant and Rave Facebook post. “It’s a really nice trail down to the beach. When we were there there wasn’t a soul around. With a trail this far out why limit the use?”
The city is working with the developer to address the issue and there is opportunity for further public trails with further development.