Tall orange traffic cones have been put in place along main road at Cultus Lake, in the hopes it will keep people from parking there illegally this weekend.
And for those who ignore or move the reminders? They’ll be towed by one of the companies that have been authorized to keep Columbia Valley Road free of parked cars.
It’s a common problem for the windy and narrow road, as people crowd the lake and try to avoid parking fees.
Earlier this week, one resident posted an open letter to Facebook to highlight the concerns faced there. It included a video of cars jammed along each side of the road, which feeds several small neighbourhoods around and beyond the lake. Katrina Clow, who made the post, said beachgoers who ignore posted no-parking zones are putting lives in danger.
Emergency vehicles are often needed in the area, and when cars are parked this way, nobody can move to let them by and respond quickly.
The no parking zones have been in place for decades, and are not enforced.
Several people have posted images of the temporary parking barriers, and one person estimated that 1,500 have been put in place. Tow truck drivers have confirmed they’ve been asked to help out with the towing, and vehicles will be towed to a location in Cultus Lake.
Taryn Dixon, director for FVRD Area H, said the solution is temporary and the result of increased public concern and the coming together of many organizations. The regional district doesn’t have the authority to hand out tickets on the road. But the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) has stepped in, and worked with the RCMP to create this solution for the long weekend.
Dixon said that plan includes additional signage at the the Hwy. 3 exit off Hwy 1., and at Parmenter Road in Cultus. The one in Parmenter advises drivers that they will be towed if they park in no-parking zones, and that emergency vehicles require road access.
“We want to give people a bit of a heads up,” she said, and they want people who come to the lake and live there to enjoy their time safely.
“This will give us an opportunity to see how this will work, while we work on a long-term plan for Cultus Lake,” she said.
The B.C. Day long weekend is one of the busiest of the season for the community, which relies on tourism to keep businesses thriving.
“Safety is the most important thing, and we want people to know they can come and enjoy the area safely,” Dixon added.
She is excited to see the willingness of stakeholders to see a long-term solution come to fruition in the future. In addition to MOTI and the FVRD, the City of Chilliwack, Cultus Lake Parks Board, Soowahlie First Nation, BC Parks and the RCMP have all been working together.
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