Busy season for parks and parking lots
Local beaches are finally welcoming beach-goers after a cool start to the summer, resulting in some parking lot closures to prevent problems in crowded parking lots.
The gates at both White Pine Beach and Buntzen Lake were closed for several hours on the holiday Monday until there were enough vacancies in the parking lots to accommodate new visitors.
“It was crazy,” said Alex Davidson, a parks worker at Buntzen Lake, which is operated by BC Hydro.
Sun-seekers are returning to the park after it was closed last summer due to flooding caused by work on a turbine at the Buntzen powerhouse.
At nearby White Pine Beach, run by Metro Vancouver Parks, the parking lot was only half full on Wednesday afternoon but the lake was warm enough for many toddlers to play in the shallow waters. Operations supervisor Ron Wood said Monday’s gate closure at White Pine Beach lasted for several hours and was the first for the popular beach for the summer of 2011. “We had a late start this year.”
Normally, the park would be so busy the gates would have been shut on several occasions. Wood said closures typically last several hours. People have the choice of either parking at the side of the road and walking in or leaving the area and then returning to the park after 3 p.m. when the lot usually empties out and the gate is re-opened.
The closures, which usually last from about 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on busy weekends have been implemented to deter people from idling in their cars and blocking traffic on Bedwell Bay Road.
Earlier this year, Port Moody council was asked by police to ban parking in the area because of safety concerns but the suggestion was turned down because of fears that moving cars further away would only put more pedestrians at risk.
Wood said most people are willing to cooperate and “understand it’s not a personal thing when the gates are closed.”
Weekends are the busiest and people should be at the park before 10 a.m. or after 3 p.m., to get a spot.
At Buntzen Lake, people can call the warden at 604-469-9679 to find out if the gates have been closed.
Meanwhile, an influx of bears to blueberry fields along Oliver Road in Coquitlam has prompted MetroVancouver Parks to institute early gate closures along the road to Minnekhada Regional Park.
The gate on Oliver Road is being closed at 4 p.m., or earlier if bears appear, to prevent human/bear conflicts, according to Wood, who said: “People can get a little silly, they want to get out and get closer. It’s far too risky for them and the animals.”
People can still get access to the park at the entrance on Quarry Road.