When GaLTT first started working to improve accessibility our focus was entirely on getting people with mobility difficulties to the beach (still a significant goal!), but our 2019 survey of Gabriolans’ experience of accessibility revealed that the issue was not just beach access and people using wheelchairs and walkers. Many people have difficulty navigating our forest trails, including those with fear of falling and sensory impairments, people with balance and strength limitations (including those due to age or injury) and young parents with children in strollers or carrying loads. Those of us with these issues may need wide accesses, smoother, flatter trails, and places to rest periodically.
At that time our largest park, 707 Community Park, had no trails that met these requirements, and all our flattish trail loops were too long for the mobility-impaired to manage. Our first task was to get at least one easy entry to a reasonably flat walking trail, so GaLTT worked with RDN Parks to remove the berm at the Jeanette Avenue entrance, flattening and widening the access path around the yellow gate. This greatly improved access to the nice level trail to a big maple tree, but there was no place to rest there or along the way.