Joyce Lockwood stairs to be demolished

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Wednesday, October 17 2018

The stairs to the beach in Joyce Lockwood Community Park will be permanently removed by the Regional District of Nanaimo.

The Gabriola Parks and Open Spaces Advisory Committee (POSAC) recently met with RDN Parks Staff. Howard Houle, RDN Director for Area B (Gabriola, Mudge, DeCourcy) chaired the meeting.

He and staff explained to POSAC members that removal of the stairs and working with the federal government and First Nations would be the better solution long term.

At issue, is that the bottom of the stairs and the slope underneath are at continual risk of being eroded away.

As Houle said, “We can put more stuff in, spend a ton of money, and in five years do it again.”

The recommendation from staff, endorsed by POSAC, is to take the stairs out completely (the stairs have been closed since summer of 2017).

The trail to the stairs’ location continues into the so-called Kensington Lands east of the border of the park border.

Those lands are part of the lands designated for treaty negotiation and settlement with Snuneymuxw First Nation (SFN).

A few feet past the park border is a sloped trail down to the beach, which could be used as a formal beach access. The RDN will be reaching out to the federal government and SFN to request that the RDN be able to add the water access to the lease paid on Joyce Lockwood.

Houle said Snuneymuxw has first right of refusal on the use of that water access.

Staff said the Board will first need to give direction to ask for permission to make contact to start negotiations for the water access use.