Accessibility and Infrastructure Improvements in CRD Regional Parks

May 28, 2024

Victoria, BC – This week is National AccessAbility Week (NAAW), and the Capital Regional District (CRD) is pleased to highlight a variety of infrastructure improvements in regional parks that are helping to increase accessibility and improve equity in natural spaces in the region.

“Accessibility is not just about removing barriers; it’s about creating a world where everyone has the opportunity to participate fully and enjoy all that our beautiful region has to offer,” said CRD Board Chair Colin Plant.  “Our commitment to accessibility reflects our values as a community. We will continue to strive for inclusivity in every project, ensuring that our natural spaces can be enjoyed by all, regardless of ability.”

NAAW celebrates the valuable contributions and leadership of Canadians with disabilities and promotes efforts to increase accessibility and inclusion across the country. Over the last three years, several new projects have been completed at Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park by staff, contractors, partners, and stakeholders. This includes capital projects with accessibility considerations like new washrooms and a new nature playground at Hamsterly Beach as well as more recent infrastructure improvement projects to enhance visitor experience.

A welcome addition to the park is a floating fishing dock in Elk Lake which has increased accessibility and enjoyment for residents and visitors. This project was spearheaded by stakeholder groups World Fisheries Trust and Victoria Golden Rods and Reels Fishing and Social Club who applied for funding on behalf of the CRD through Pacific Economic Development Canada under the Canada Community Revitalization Fund. The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC and the Rotary Club of Saanich also financially supported the project. The dock, which was designed with valuable input from Dirk Mitchell, Power To Be and Spinal Cord Injury B.C., is wheelchair accessible and features accessible rod holders, fish cleaning stations and benches.

Additional projects in the park completed recently focused on enhancing the experience for visitors with diverse abilities. This included providing more detailed information online for accessible trip planning and removing physical barriers that deter access to regional parks and trails. Other enhancements made in both Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park and several other regional parks such as Thetis Lake, Mount Work, Witty’s Lagoon and East Sooke, included adding accessible picnic tables, the installation of mobility mats for lake use, additional and improved accessible parking stalls, and improved surfacing to help mobility aid users navigate trails more easily.

"I am heartened that our regional parks team and stakeholders are laser focused on providing more inclusive, barrier-free parks experiences, where everyone can feel like they belong,” said CRD Regional Parks Committee Chair Cliff McNeil-Smith. “The diversity of the projects that have been undertaken to improve the experience for visitors at Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park, and others, is encouraging and I am excited to watch more projects and partnerships related to accessibility and equity in regional parks come to fruition.”

Statistics Canada data for 2022 shows that 28.6% of BC’s population aged 15 and older are living with at least one disability. Enhancing health and well-being by providing equitable access to regional parks and regional trails is a priority for the CRD, as these spaces are a public good that belong to everyone in the region. The CRD Board-approved Regional Parks and Trails Strategic Plan 2022-2032 specifically identifies within the plan’s Strategic Priorities that regional parks and regional trails are increasingly inclusive and accessible. Through 2024 and beyond, as park infrastructure is built and replaced, accessibility and equity will continue to be a key consideration.

As the regional government for 13 municipalities and three electoral areas on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, the CRD is committed to equal access and participation for people with disabilities. In 2023, the CRD Board established an Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) which provides recommendations to the Governance Committee that inform the Accessibility Plan and help improve the livability, inclusivity, and accessibility for persons working and interacting with the CRD.

This work includes identifying, removing, and preventing barriers across CRD services, programs, and infrastructure, and treating all people in ways that allow them to maintain their dignity and independence.

To find out more about the CRD’s AAC, visit To find out more about accessibility in regional parks, visit

The CRD delivers regional, sub-regional and local services to 13 municipalities and three electoral areas on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Governed by a 24-member Board of Directors, the CRD works collaboratively with First Nations and government partners to enable sustainable growth, foster community well-being, and develop cost-effective infrastructure while continuing to provide core services to residents throughout the region. Visit us online at


For media inquiries, please contact:
Andy Orr, Senior Manager
CRD Corporate Communications
Tel: 250.360.3229
Cell: 250.216.5492