North Shore residents react to expansion of Green Necklace pathway

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The Green Necklace cycling path wraps around Lonsdale in North Vancouver. Photo by Chantelle Deacon.

Reported by Chantelle Deacon

Many residents of the North Shore appear happy about the recent approval for a $5-million addition to North Vancouver’s walking and cycling pathway that circles the central Lonsdale area, known as the Green Necklace.

But some are definitely less enthusiastic.

Residents voice their concerns about the Green Necklace

For many North Vancouver residents who live near the construction that is currently underway on the new asphalt path at East Keith Road and Grand Boulevard, the extension rankles. Jessica Watts, a community activist, said she is worried about the land that will be ruined to construct the Green Necklace.

“I have talked to many people in this area and they are also worried about the future of this trail, and the damage to the environment that could happen,” Watts said.

Watts often uses the Green Necklace, sometimes referred by opponents as the “Black Necklace,” to get exercise but that still doesn’t change her opinion on it. She lives near East Keith Road where the most recent addition has been approved. Several other residents have been expressing their negative feelings on a popular community blog and on Twitter.

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Residents have nicknamed the development of this cycling path the “Black Necklace” as it interferes with nature. Photo by Chantelle Deacon.

“I have lived here for years and I love more recreational structures in North Vancouver,” said Watts. “But to be honest, shouldn’t this money be going to something more necessary? Like towards traffic initiatives?”

The Green Necklace, whose first section was built in in 2005, will have 2.1 kilometres added in the new extension, which should be completed by December 2016. It will be built east along East Keith Road, from St. Andrew’s to Grand Boulevard, and north to 19th Street.

Some pedestrians and cyclists are pleased about the development of this pathway

The greenway has many fans. Many cyclists, runners and walkers seem to be ecstatic about the extension.

James Wilson, who has been riding bikes for over 30 years and owns his own store called Obsession Bikes in North Vancouver, said that the city council is making the right decision by approving the Green Necklace.

“The primary problem that North Vancouver has, and it’s becoming increasingly obvious, is an urban transport issue,” said Wilson. “There is too many people trying to drive too short of distances and they’re getting jammed in traffic. Things like the Green Necklace and things like the Spirit Trail are absolutely essential, as it relates to inviting people to become comfortable on bicycles and having dedicated routes where integrations with automobiles are understandable and safe.”

The Green Necklace isn’t the only controversial walking and cycling path that has been created in the region. In Vancouver, the Arbutus Greenway that will connect False Creek to the Fraser River is another trail that has caused controversy. Some residents were angry about the city’s plan to pave the entire 11-kilometre trail, saying that it caused environmentally damaging run-off, that it would encourage cyclists to speed along a path also used by pedestrians, and that it destroyed the rural feel of the pathway.

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