Who will protect public’s access to beaches?

Dear editor,

It's great to see that the CVRD is pursuing a waterfront trail, from Royston to connect to Courtenay.

Dear editor,

It’s great to see that the CVRD is pursuing a waterfront trail, from Royston to connect to Courtenay.

We walked the old Rail Road Right of Way this summer, assuming it was public property and tried to find the Beach Access Roads from the excellent CVRD inventory. There is no signage and we did not realize that private property owners had been granted property rights to what we thought was public property.

It is apparent that the Ministry of Transportation and Highways/Infrastructure did not consider future pubic use when they granted special privileges to private property owners. It may have been understandable many years ago, but not today.

In our neighborhood, the MOTI has granted a specialized permit to a landowner who built beside a very popular Public Beach Access Road. Many neighbors objected to the specialized permit and the Homeowner’s landscaping plans for the Public Access property.

After a lively meeting including residents, director Jim Gillis and MOTI staff, a senior MOTI manager arbitrated a fair resolution. Now, a year later, the homeowner is continuing with his landscaping plans.

A different Senior MOTI official has granted his request, by issuing another specialized permit. These permits are for life, and rarely rescinded by MOTI .

So, the question is, who will protect public beach access right of ways for present and future Comox Valley residents? We are governed by the Comox Valley Regional District and our MLA is Minister Don McRae. Where does the buck stop?

Phil Harrison,


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