Jean Ferguson loves walking around the waterfront in Qualicum Beach.
She would enjoy the opportunity to access the sandy areas of the beach but due to a problematic knee, has been unable to traverse through the rocky portions.
Ferguson wrote to Qualicum Beach council asking that the town create a few pathways along the beach so people with mobility issues can access the sand, similar to those in Rathrevor Beach.
“I struggle with knee issues and trying to reach the sand over the rocks is extremely challenging,” Ferguson wrote in her letter. “I have seen others also navigate the rocks with the same difficulty.”
Council read and deliberated on the Ferguson’s request at its regular meeting on April 7.
CAO Daniel Sailland told council the town does open the beach access located near the Shore Restaurant and the public washrooms in spring and throughout the summer.
“To date that has been our best access point for people that have mobility issues and want to avoid rocks,” said Sailland. “Now, obviously we can’t remove all rocks.”
Sailland also indicated the town attempted to create a beach access as part of its Memorial Avenue upgrades.
“We had a plan were we would have a mat off the spit and a little trail on top of the spit that would help people access directly to the sand,” said Sailland. “However, that part of the plan was not approved as we are in a wildlife management area. The province did not feel that was an appropriate addition to the project.”
Sailland recommended a motion that council direct staff to approach the provincial government and ask them to amend that decision so the town can add a better access point. Council endorsed the recommendation.
Coun. Teunis Westbroek also suggested they can also look at asking residents nearby, as well as groups, to help clear the rocks.
“What happened historically was that people who live along the beach or people who use the beach a lot volunteer to remove a path of rocks,” said Westbroek. “It doesn’t take long with a couple of guys, a couple of women to clear out those rocks for a path that creates people access to the sand.”