Lions Bay hiking trails to remain closed despite lower fire risk

The Village of Lions Bay has voted to extend the closure of public parking lots and hiking trails.

The closures were put in place last month over the extreme risk of wildfires in the backcountry above the area.

Read More: Lions Bay hiking trails closed due to fire risk

In a Wednesday meeting, councillors in the village just north of Metro Vancouver were divided over a recommendation from the local fire department that the trails reopen, as there was no longer a fire risk.

The minority of councillors that voted in favour of reopening the trails argued the decision should be left to experts, not politicians.

“We have received information from the experts in the field and we should be listening to that, and that we should return our parking to its original position,” said Coun. Michael Broughton during the meeting.

“Whether I agree with all the different statements or not is kind of irrelevant. We have certain individuals that are tasked to advise us that we need to listen carefully.”

When the topic was discussed in August, there were concerns that a fire near the trails could strand hikers and threaten the local water supply. Acting Mayor Jaime Cunliffe told CityNews at the time that the village is not connected to Metro Vancouver’s water systems, which factored into the decision to close the trail.

“We have our own watershed and our own water system and we are teetering on level three water restrictions anyways,” she said. “We would not have the kind of water flow to actually be able to fight a fire for an extended period of time, and if there was a fire that was to occur in our watershed, it would absolutely devastate our community,” Jaime Cunliffe said at the time.

Council will revisit the topic on Sept. 19.

With files from Emma Crawford

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