Victoria residents demand access to a public waterway

Victoria residents say private landowners block public access to a popular watercourse.

They cite a study by the Veins of Life Watershed Society and the University of Victoria, which noted that access to the Gorge Stream was hampered at 87 locations.

According to Calvin Sandborn, director of the University’s legal center, “private” and “no-go” signs are posted on public property at certain locations near the seven-kilometer estuary.

“The problem is that the public land near the water is privatized by neighboring landowners,” he says.

Mr. Sandborn added that sub-divisions in the area require access to the watercourse every 200 meters.

“What often happens is that landowners take possession of these lands and build carports, terraces, gardens and fences, or put their bins to compost. ”

The Association and the University presented the results of their study to the Saanich District Council, in addition to a call to action to notify landowners and begin to clarify public entry points.

In a statement, Saanich District says it has conveyed these concerns to the construction department, regulations, licensing and legal services.

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