As of 1:30 p.m. (Oct 2.), BC Conservation officers were in the south Oak Bay area, attempting to investigate credible reports of a cougar in the area. No cougar has been located.
School officials in the area have been updated and are following the standard safety procedures for school dismissal.
BC Conservation officers recommend residents should not walk alone, children should travel in groups, stay on public sidewalks and avoid wooded pathways.
Multiple unconfirmed cougar sightings have students kept inside and police and conservation officers on the lookout in south Oak Bay.
The first sighting was reported to police from the area of Brighton and Monterey avenues, said Kent Thom, deputy chief of Oak Bay Police Department.
“These are all coming in independently,” Thom said. “We’ve contacted the conservation office and they’re going to be searching the area. … We have to be diligent getting the word out there, but a professional hasn’t spotted an actual cougar yet.”
Other calls stretch out into the Linkleas Road area, but all are in south Oak Bay.
“We’ve got some of the schools in the area notified and they’re keeping their kids in,” Thom said.
In a letter fanout to parents, administrators at Monterey outlined a safety plan in place for students.
“Oak Bay Police recently introduced a new drill this year called ‘hold and secure’, which is suitable for situations such as this one,” principal Ken Andrews wrote to parents. Less intense than a lockdown, students and staff can move freely within the building.
Starting at 8:30 a.m. this morning (Friday, Oct. 2) staff ushered students into the building as they arrived to school supervising them in the gym and library until first bell.
“It’s a new CRD-wide policy,” Thom explained, used where there is an outside danger, such as a cougar. “We contact the school and let them know. They will hold and secure inside the school. If there’s an active danger inside the school it’s handled differently.”