As warm weather begins to settle over the region, more visitors are making their way to Metchosin beaches, prompting new parking restrictions near popular spots.
Metchosin Fire Chief Stephanie Dunlop said the District typically sees more visitors at parks and beaches in the summer but it has been “substantially worse” this year.
Dunlop said she believes the COVID-19 pandemic may be behind the increase in beach-goers as more people look to get outside.
The increase has led to parking frustrations as well as safety concerns amongst first responders and residents.
“It’s access for emergency responders that gets blocked,” Dunlop said. “It gets to be that there are so many cars parked on the road it’s hard to get the fire truck down.”
In response, the District re-painted parking lines and added restrictions such as only allowing parking on one side of the road near beaches and parks. Enforcement has also increased with more tickets and towing.
“There’s going to be a learning curve,” Dunlop said. “But we just want to make people aware … we do have enforcement here even though it’s a rural area.”
Dunlop said they’re also looking to deal with other issues, such as visitors using beaches as toilets because portable toilets aren’t available. She said people are also parking along main roadways and curves in the road which can create additional hazards.
“Our focus right now is just making it safe for the public and residents by allowing responders the ability to reach them should an event occur,” Dunlop said.
“Thank you to everybody who is adhering to parking regulations and to residents who are showing patience as we get this resolved.”