Southlands Equestrian Trails Development

Horseback rider

The Southlands Equestrian Trails Development project will provide a trail network for horse riders and pedestrians in the Southlands Community.

The trails will be developed on road shoulders and boulevards on City-owned land.

The project will:

  • Create safe equestrian routes
  • Improve street safety for all road users
  • Maintain and enhance the semi-rural, natural character of the area

Recent developments with this project

Trail construction to resume in July 2015

June 30, 2015 – We're completing the second phase of trail construction from July to September/October 2015. Trails will be built on Balaclava Street, Carnarvon Street, and West 53rd Avenue as

  • Balaclava Street, 53rd to 55th: off-street (north half block) and roadside (south half block)
  • Carnarvon, Street 53rd to 55th: off-street
  • West 53rd Avenue, Blenheim to Carnarvon: off-street

To learn more:

Trail construction to start in late July

June 30, 2014 – The first phase of trail construction will happen between late July to late September, 2014.

Project update letter mailed to residents

December 17, 2013 – Trails construction is planned to begin spring or summer 2014.

Public open house

October 2012 – City staff and the consultant team presented the proposed trail locations and two design options for further discussion.

Public open house

January 2012 – The public was invited to an open house where City staff presented the project goals and objectives. The City gathered feedback on potential trail locations and design options.

Public engagement

Information panels from open houses

Southlands Plan 1988

Project details


The overall goal of the Southlands Equestrian Trail Development project is to create a network of trails that can be safely used by equestrians and pedestrians.

Specifically, the trails will:

  • Respect the environment, including wildlife and rural character
  • Retain ditches which support wildlife
  • Improve access to and from Southlands Riding Club and the River Trail
  • Separate horses from vehicles where possible
  • Enhance round-the-block routes
  • Design the trail system to minimize construction and maintenance costs

No long-term disruption to motor vehicle traffic is expected. Minor delays may be possible during the construction period. Construction crews will try to reduce any impacts on road users.



Existing trails legend icon Existing trails
Trails constructed in 2014 legend icon Trails constructed in 2014
Trails constructed in 2015 legend icon Trails constructed in 2015


$1.28 million


This project is funded by a 2005 Community Amenity Contribution for the purpose of riverfront trail development and equestrian boulevard development in Southlands.

The funds are allocated as follows:

  • $1.13 million: Trail design and construction, and maintenance over the next several years 
  • $150,000: Future trail development

Key dates

Date Milestone
Winter 2011 

City retains a consultant to work on the Southlands Equestrian Trail project

City staff and the consultant team meet with the Southlands Equestrian Trails Neighbourhood Committee (SETNC), and hold first public open house

Summer 2012 

Preliminary layout of trails presented for feedback from SETNC

Fall 2012  Second public open house held to gather feedback on proposed locations of trails and two design options for trails
Winter 2013  

Public feedback reviewed

Summer 2013 

Technical analysis conducted to arrive at final recommendation

Fall 2013 – winter 2014

City staff report back to Council on a recommendation for a design of Southlands Equestrian Trails

Stakeholders and residents notified

July 2014  Trails constructed on Balaclava St (from West 53rd Ave to Celtic Ave), and on West 55th Ave (from Blenheim St to Carnarvon St), where no tree planting is needed
Winter 2015  Trees relocated and replaced
Spring – summer 2015  Remaining trails constructed 

Design considerations

The trails will be designed with these factors in mind:

  • Physical environment, specifically:
    • Available space
    • Adjacent land use
    • Ditch locations and sizes
    • Vegetation types and locations
    • Drainage
    • Utilities
  • Use by existing and expected equestrian and pedestrian traffic
  • Network that links equestrian destinations in the neighbourhood (stables, riding club, riverfront) and creates around-the-block riding circuits
  • Best practices on shared pedestrian-equestrian trails in other cities
  • Construction costs of the drainage system, ditches, and existing roads

Work leading up to this project

The City has long recognized the need to improve safety for all road users in Southlands, including equestrians, pedestrians, and cyclists.

Policy support and Council direction for this project include:

  • Southlands Memorandum of Agreement 1982: Included proposed equestrian trails agreed to by City of Vancouver, Southlands Riding Club, and Southland Ratepayers’ Association
  • Southlands Plan 1988: Recommended a network of boulevard trails in the Blenheim Flats area, on Blenheim, Balaclava and Carnarvon streets, and 53th, 55th, 57th and Celtic avenues

Ask about this project

David Rawsthorne
Senior Transportation Engineer