EDITORIAL: Private parts

Trail users of all kinds have found themselves kicked out of paradise, with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. putting up No Trespassing signs around a 644-acre chunk of Seymour land that’s crisscrossed with popular trails.

It seems, despite the trails having been in use for decades, CMHC’s concerns over liability were suddenly too much to bear.

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At the very least, the new frame of mind seems incongruous with that of all the other North Shore mountain landowners, public and private, who allow people to recreate on their land without the pearl-clutching and threatening signage. Among them: The districts of West Vancouver and North Vancouver, Metro Vancouver, the province, British Pacific Properties and Grouse Mountain.

The Blair Rifle Range land has a storied past as logging grounds, a Depression-era relief camp for unemployed men, an army rifle range, a piece of developable real estate fought over by council and developers, a subject of First Nations land claims and a place for teens to hold bush parties.

But its future is decidedly more murky. CMHC has a mandate to provide affordable housing but they apparently don’t have a mandate to be transparent about their long-term plans for this land, which occupies an important place in local outdoors culture. People appreciate its wilderness, although the soil there remains badly contaminated.

CMHC is pledging to work with local stakeholders, which is something they could have started any time since acquiring the land in 1968. The sudden appearance of the signs seems to be a reaction (although to what it isn’t clear).

We suspect people will continue to use the trails while the real reasons for their official banishment remain a mystery.

What are your thoughts? Send us a letter by clicking here or post a comment below.

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