By MARINA SACHT
A couple of volunteers are hard at work clearing an overgrown trail that connects Ladysmith’s waterfront to downtown.
Bill Drysdale and Chuck Forrest meet every Wednesday to do back-breaking work because they believe that it’s a valuable addition to the community.
A cleaned up trail will provide better security and safety for local residents, and encourage visiting boaters to visit downtown Ladysmith, says Drysdale.
By thinning out some of the trees and cottonwoods, and pruning back some bushes a visual corridor could be created from First Avenue & Gatacre Street to the harbour, connecting the downtown area to the waterfront, he says.
But cleaning up this trail isn’t without its challenges. It runs through three jurisdictions, the Town of Ladysmith, the Vancouver Island Rail Corridor, and Department of Highways.
“We want to clean it up because our visitors down at Ladysmith Marina don’t know how to get to town,” says Forrest, who says they have been frequently asked directions while working on the trail. Their goal is to make the trail more inviting for boating tourists and local residents to walk down to the art gallery, visit the Loci 11, or the marina
“We need to be able to connect the people that come here to our local businesses,” says Forrest.
Once the trail is cleared, they plan to lay down ground cloth with gravel and wood chips. When the visual corridor is opened up, they would like to tackle the viewpoint that is now over-grown beside the old Expo building.
“It’s not only a beautiful spot but will once again enhance the view corridor…it would be lovely to have it so that it’s physically and visually an invitation for boaters to get to town and the town to come down to the water.”
As part of rehabilitating the trail they have removed truckloads of debris from people dumping illegally, and painted over graffiti appearing regularly on the vacant railway station building.
“The station should be a priority because if it isn’t, it will just be a pile of rubble soon,” says Forrest.
But right now, it’s one step at a time, one blackberry bush at a time.
If you can help, join in on Wednesdays from 11:30 to 1 pm.