Enforcement patrols will be stepped up as of this weekend at popular Capital Regional District parks including at Thetis Lake.
The CRD says it increases the patrols every summer to help keep the parks safe and enjoyable for everyone.
“The visitation to CRD regional parks and regional trails increases every year and peaks during the summer months, especially at many of our popular beach areas such as Thetis Lake,” said Larisa Hutcheson, General Manager for Parks and Environmental Services.
“The majority of people are respectful of others and the natural areas. Our enforcement staff work with RCMP, municipal police and fire detachments to reduce alcohol and drug use, smoking and other risky behaviors.”
The CRD reminds the public that smoking, drugs, alcohol, and fires are prohibited in regional parks. From June 1 to September 15, dogs must be on leash when passing through designated beach and picnic areas and are not allowed to stay.
“During peak use periods, compliance and enforcement patrols will focus their efforts on priority areas within the parks and trails system.”
Earlier this week, first responders sounded the alarm about growing problems at Thetis Lake after two serious booze-related calls on Sunday.
A 15-year-old was so impaired, he was unconscious on the trails and an intoxicated man jumped off the cliffs and hurt himself.
“Obviously, drownings and deaths and horrific accidents where people are shattering their bodies and breaking their skulls open and permanently disfiguring themselves, that message isn’t getting out,” says View Royal Fire Chief Paul Hurst.
Despite the warning signs about the dangers of cliff jumping and a ban on smoking, vaping and alcohol consumption in all Capital Regional District (CRD) parks, people are openly breaking the rules and taking risks.
“I would never think of doing that but it’s not surprising, unfortunately,” says park user Jess McIntosh. “It sucks that’s the situation.”
One popular cliff jumping spot, far from the main beach, was littered with empty beers cans.
And with the park’s popularity only increasingly, Chief Hurst is now making a public plea for people to be responsible.