View Royal Fire Rescue has been concerned about alcohol consumption and safety issues at Thetis Lake Regional Park for decades, says View Royal Fire Chief Paul Hurst. (File Photo)

Years of ‘horrific, violent accidents’ at Thetis Lake prompt plea to public

View Royal fire chief asks for an end to alcohol consumption at busy park

It’s a request View Royal Fire Rescue has made before and say they are likely to make again.

Emergency crews are asking the public to take safety seriously and stop drinking at Thetis Lake Regional Park after responding to two alcohol-related medical incidents at the busy lake on Sunday alone.

“Every year we have these horrific, violent accidents on the lake and the behaviours don’t change,” said View Royal Fire Chief Paul Hurst. “Nobody goes to the lake expecting to fall from the cliffs and break their legs or break their back or have a skull fracture. It’s always someone else.”

Hurst said the department responded to two incidents involving impairment on Sunday – one was an impaired and unconscious teen, the other an impaired adult who had jumped from the cliffs and injured himself.

Historically, View Royal Fire Rescue’s calls to the Capital Regional District (CRD) for lifeguards and enforcement have not been fulfilled.

READ ALSO: Crews respond to non-fatal drowning at Thetis Lake

READ ALSO: Near drowning at Thetis Lake in View Royal

But with the growth of surrounding communities – Langford, Highlands, View Royal and Saanich – the park sees about 500,000 visitors a year and is now an “urban park,” according to Hurst.

In an email, the CRD told Black Press Media that it increases patrols in regional parks and trails over the summer and that the majority of visitors to its parks are “respectful of others and the natural areas.”

And although alcohol consumption – along with smoking and fires – is illegal in Thetis, enforcement is difficult in the 834-hectare park, which has multiple entry points.

“You can’t set up a check point at every access point in the park,” Hurst said. “So people are going to do what people are going to do. We’re just asking people to have some personal accountability.

“Every single year it’s the same story from View Royal Fire,” he added. “The bulk of our work at Thetis Lake Park has an alcohol component to it. Whether it’s a fall from a cliff or it’s some sort of medical issue.”

Accidents happen when people are at parks or lakes, Hurst said. But accidents resulting from impairment are avoidable and require a lot of emergency response efforts, especially during summer months.

READ ALSO: Dozens of people die in B.C. waters each summer: Here’s how to not be one of them

READ ALSO: CRD advises park visitors to be aware of surroundings ahead of busy summer season

“It takes lots of resources to deal with these issues. Police, fire and ambulance get busy in the park dealing with alcohol and drug-related issues which, if not for the fact that people are impaired, then the emergency services are available for other calls.”

According to Hurst, another issue for emergency crews is access. He said the high volume of people and the lack of parking makes responding difficult.

“There’s not enough parking there,” he said. “All the streets leading to Thetis are clogged with vehicles. We have trouble getting our emergency vehicles in because people were illegally parked on all the roads and all the side roads.”



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

‘Norovirus-like’ outbreak interrupts Bantam hockey showcase in Greater Victoria

Several athletes were sent home, quarantined on the ferry

Single mom caught up in Langford rental scam could be homeless for the holidays

Man took $3,900 cash for deposit and first month’s rent then disappeared

Expect rolling street closures, bus delays as truck convoy moves through region Saturday

The annual Truck Light Convoy will roll through the region starting at 5:45 p.m.

UPDATED: 64-year-old Victoria man David Atkins found

Atkins was found by Sooke RCMP on Saturday morning

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

B.C.-born hockey official talks to IIHF about switching European rule book to NHL rules

Rob Shick will represent NHL at 4th World Hockey Forum in Russia

Miller nets winner as Canucks edge Sabres 6-5 in OT

Roussel, Leivo tally two apiece for Vancouver

$578: that’s how much your first distracted driving ticket will cost with recent premium hikes

Over 50 per cent of Canadians admitted to using phone while driving last year, according to study

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

Most Read