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View Royal neighbours furious as Thetis Lake visitors overflow CRD parking lots

Hot weather escalates annual parking problems at popular park
Vehicles sit parked along the onramp to the Trans-Canada Highway in View Royal on Monday afternoon. The hot weather is driving people to Thetis Lake Regional Park, for which the designated parking lot fills up quickly. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)

Residents and lake seekers battled it out for overflow parking at Thetis Lake Park on Sunday in View Royal.

Municipal streets surrounding the lake were choked with vehicles parked by lakegoers, to the consternation of locals. Neighbours took to calling bylaw enforcement, ranting on social media and even establishing a guerilla-style barricade with a spray-painted NO PARKING plywood sign.

The barricade was on West Park Lane at the newly opened West Park Apartments. A few people stationed themselves in camping chairs with umbrellas, baking in the heat to prevent unauthorized parking on their street.

This sign at West Park Lane, adjacent to Thetis Lake Regional Park, is aimed at patrons unable to find a spot in the designated CRD lot. Residents barricaded the roadway over the weekend due to the number of park visitors who attemped to park on the street, which services the newly opened West Park Apartments. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)

View Royal Mayor David Screech is aware of the issues, which is he says are a problem every year.

“It’s not surprising on the hottest day ever that a lot of people wanted to be at the lake,” he said.

While View Royal bylaw enforcement can ticket or tow illegally parked cars on its local roads, Screech indicated there’s not much more they can do. “There’s just a big demand for the lake and there’s a limited amount of parking.”

Katt Edwards shared on Facebook that a fire truck came by and wasn’t able to get up the road because of all the parked cars.

RELATED: Eight weather stations break high heat records on southern Vancouver Island

Amanda Carl echoed Screech’s sentiments about the problem. She lives down the hill from the park and regularly sees cars parked on both highway ramps, and has seen cars parked three-deep at a grassy triangle meant to delineate traffic. Enforcement is needed, she said, and more encouragement for taking public transit.

“They’ve already mowed down however many trees for development. We don’t need to pave more paradise for another parking lot.”

Greater Victoria’s parks have seen a surge in visitors even before the warm weather hit, prompting the Capital Regional District (CRD) to issue a request for people to visit less popular places, or visit at non-peak times.

From January to April there were more than 2.7 million visits to CRD parks – that’s a 20-per-cent increase over the same four months last year.

RELATED STORY: Capital Regional District asks regional park visitors to consider alternatives

It also issued a parking reminder, telling visitors to park in designated places. If parking is full, find another park or come back later, the note suggested.

“Parking illegally can block emergency access, create safety issues and potentially result in your vehicle being towed,” the district wrote.

Another View Royal resident reached by Black Press Media called bylaw enforcement Sunday, asking them to ticket vehicles not registered to residents of Chilco Road, just down the hill from Thetis Lake Regional Park.

“Thetis has two huge lots at the top of Six Mile Road and an overflow lot just past the bridge. If they are full, and there is nothing roadside … maybe go somewhere else for your float and suntan?” she wrote on a local Facebook group.

ALSO READ: Absence of new parking fees at Greater Victoria regional parks confirmed

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