To some, summer is a time of warm weather, beach days and lots of sunscreen. For the Capital Regional District (CRD), summer means increased patrolling by peace officers.
Every year, the CRD adds to their usual patrols in the popular regional parks during the warmer months to ensure that people are safe and adhering to the park bylaws.
“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, which sees half a million visits a year,” said Larisa Hutcheson, general manager for Parks and Environmental Services, in a statement.
Hutcheson says that most people are respectful of those around them and of the environment. CRD officers focus their efforts on the busy areas of the parks and trails, but there are several rules to be followed in all areas of the parks.
Continued public compliance will allow CRD patrols to focus on keeping people safe. The officers do seek to educate park-goers, but also need to focus on the serious bylaw violations which can result in fines or removal from the park.
Park parking lots fill up quickly and the CRD advises that parking outside the designated areas can result in towing — especially if a car is parking in a fire lane or an emergency stall.
From June 1 to Sept. 15, dogs must be on leashes and can only pass through designated beach and regional park areas.
Beach-goers are also advised to use caution as there are no lifeguards at the regional parks.
Last year, the CRD Board granted approval for a budget of $100,000 for increased enforcement services. This relates to dog management and enforcement of park regulations. Some of the enforcement services will also be allocated to educating visitors about the hazards of cliff jumping and other risky activity at Thetis Lake Regional Park and several others.
The CRD officers also work with local police, RCMP and fire departments to manage risky behaviour and alcohol and drug use in the parks, said Hutcheson.
The public can help keep parks safe and clean by reporting violations to CRD Regional Parks at (250) 478-3344 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on CRD regional parks bylaws and staying safe this summer, visit the CRD website.