Improved accessibility at xw cumi:lucun (Gabriola Sands Provincial Park)

Gabriola Land and Trails Trust (GaLTT)

Press Release

Wednesday, June 30 2021

It is over five years since GaLTT first contacted BC Parks about improving accessibility in xw cumi:lucun (Gabriola Sands Provincial Park/Twin Beaches), and while achieving wheelchair access to the beach and water still holds complex problems, costly to solve, a grant to GaLTT from the BC Park Enhancement Fund has enabled some great accessibility improvements on the side of the park that overlooks Pilot Bay.

The parking lots have been resurfaced and now include two disabled parking stalls, one at each parking area. 

The concrete barriers have been moved, allowing wheelchairs, walkers, and baby strollers to access the improved park trails. 

After careful logistical choreographing to keep our volunteer teams safe during Covid-19 restrictions, work started in mid-January, removing vegetation to widen and flatten the trails under archeological and Snunéymuxw First Nation supervision. We installed a firm, level wheelchair-friendly gravel trail loop between the two parking lot entrances. This connects to a wide viewing area at the shoreline, the renovated accessible picnic table, and the newly wheelchair-friendly public toilet. The concrete pad extensions needed under the picnic table and outhouse awaited warmer April weather. 

It takes a village…Gabriola Lions pitched in to help GaLTT volunteers with equipment and heavy-duty work to move the outhouse and picnic table on their pads and to improve trail surfaces. 

GaLTT’s project leader Barry Moerkerken devotedly sourced materials, and personally finished carefully selected boards for the extended picnic table. Peter Danenhower was always there to help. GaLTT had estimated that the work at Pilot Bay would cost about $8000, but our BC Park Enhancement Fund grant was for only $4500. 

We committed to pay the balance and kept project costs down to $6350 through thrifty project management. 

But GaLTT’s on-paper contribution of “only” $1850 disregards the huge contribution from our volunteers. 

They donated 161 hours of on-the-ground labour. Even at a modest $25 per hour this represents over $4000 that wasn’t budgeted, and we didn’t include the hundreds more person-hours GaLTT spent negotiating and planning over the last few years. It’s easy to forget how much volunteering contributes to our quality of life on Gabriola. 

Thank you!