Despite the risk, and the rules, plenty of members of the public are still accessing regional district parks that are closed due to the extreme fire hazard in the area.
West Kelowna resident Dianne Clowes says in the past week there have been dozens of people entering Glen Canyon Park, close to where she lives, despite the clearly marked signage stating the park is closed.
Clowes says people are taking a huge risk using parks when there is such a high fire rating.
“There are three housing communities bordering this park and at least two of them are for seniors, parents and grandparents,” Clowes told the Capital News. “Every person who enters this park is putting us at risk of losing our homes and lifetime treasures. Would you do that to your parents?”
Clowes says she lives on Gellatly Road and has been regularly watching people enter the park. She said her neighbours share the same concerns and last week one of the neighbours reported a man for being in the park and smoking.
The Regional District of Central Okanagan confirmed that many people are still accessing parks, even since they have been closed.
“We have been receiving reports of people not adhering to the regional park closures due to the high fire danger rating and continue to monitor the situation,” said Brad Ackerman, the manager of parks and resource operations. “We have our parks bylaw staff and park operators engaged in patrolling our regional parks and do follow up on reports we receive from the public regarding people accessing closed parks.”
Ackerman noted that they have also engaged our volunteers as part of CORD’s park ambassador program to help umonitor the activities within the parks that fall under the closure.
Clowes says she has reported people to the RCMP as well as to local government when she sees them breaking the rules, adding last week there was one group of eight adults, with a back pack that entered the park.
“The fire risk is rated extreme and the majority of fires are caused by people; a cigarette, piece of glass, hot engine going over dry grass,” she said. “Please, obey the law and put the safety and well being of your community above your own interest. I might add that our West Kelowna citizens patrol group will be giving extra attention to closed parks.”
A number of regional parks are closed as a result of erosion damage from flooding and record lake water levels or the ongoing extreme fire danger. Violators could be fined $500.
Extreme Fire Hazard
• Trepanier Creek Greenway Regional Park
• Coldham Regional Park
• Glen Canyon Regional Park
• Kalamoir Regional Park
• Rose Valley Regional Park
• Stephens Coyote Regional Park
• Scenic Canyon Regional Park
• Mission Creek Greenway (Phase 2)
Spring Flood Damage:
• Hardy Falls Regional Park
Park area from main entrance to Highway 97 is open
Trail and bridges to falls viewpoint not anticipated to open this year due to extensive damage to the trail and several bridges. A recovery plan is being prepared for submission under the BC Disaster Assistance Program.
• Mill Creek Regional Park
Not anticipated to open this year due to extensive damage to trails, bridges, parking area and access road. A recovery plan is being prepared for submission under the BC Disaster Assistance Program.
• Fintry Community Park Access #1 (boat launch)
Temporary repairs will be done as water level drops to provide access when it is safe to do so.
• Killiney Beach Community Park – including the boat launch not anticipated to open this year due to extensive damage to the dock and erosion of the beach and access road. A recovery plan is being prepared for submission under the BC Disaster Assistance Program.