Neighbourhood green space Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver is making strides in ensuring the serene outdoor area is accessible to all.
Its newly opened Birdsong Trail is a short, accessible path that journeys visitors into the park’s dense forest, complete with a new bench and a wheelchair-accessible picnic table.
The 450-metre-long trail begins near the entrance to the car park, which has two dedicated parking spots, and travels past two timber benches, a picnic area and leafy Douglas firs, cedars and maples before ending at a scenic viewpoint.
The park – a National Historic Site of Canada with more than 75 hectares of lush rainforest, the Point Atkinson lighthouse, a rocky beach and many hiking trails – is often sought by tourists in the area yearning for some quiet respite.
Daphne Hales, director of the Lighthouse Park Preservation Society, said it is “lovely” those in walkers or wheelchairs can now experience the area.
“The Lighthouse Park Preservation Society is all about welcoming people, we certainly don't want to try and keep people away from it,” she said.
“So we decided as a society that the area needed to have a destination with a little area off the trail with a wheelchair-accessible picnic table, and then for the trail to go on to a beautiful viewpoint of an open area with rocks and lots of birds flying through it.”
Hales said the society is "very grateful” for the West Vancouver Foundation and the Rick Hansen Foundation, who both assisted in bringing the project to life.
Revitalizing the park elsewhere is a new "tree cookie" installed by the society, designed to replace the old Douglas-fir tree cookie that disintegrated a few years ago.
The recently installed round of yellow cedar, polished to highlight its 1,448 annual growth rings, already garners plenty of attention from park-goers, said Hales.
The park is open all year round to the public, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Mina Kerr-Lazenby is the North Shore News' Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.