Drinking and risky behaviour at Thetis Lake so big a problem fire chief urges caution

Drinking and risky behaviour at Thetis Lake so big a problem fire chief urges caution
WatchView Royal Fire Chief says people "drinking so much they can't function" has to stop at Thetis Lake. Tess van Straaten reports.

Just before noon on Tuesday, a group of people walking into Thetis Lake Park can be seen carrying alcohol.

“Not surprised at all,” says park user Elle Hunter. “It’s such a beautiful place and the suns out and you want to have a few beers.”

But first responders are once again sounding the alarm about this growing problem after two serious booze-related calls Sunday.

A 15-year-old was so impaired, he was unconscious on the trails and an intoxicated man jumped off the cliffs and hurt himself.

“Obviously, drownings and deaths and horrific accidents where people are shattering their bodies and breaking their skulls open and permanently disfiguring themselves, that message isn’t getting out,” says View Royal Fire Chief Paul Hurst.

Despite the warning signs about the dangers of cliff jumping and a ban on smoking, vaping and alcohol consumption in all Capital Regional District (CRD) parks, people are openly breaking the rules and taking risks.

“I would never think of doing that but it’s not surprising, unfortunately,” says park user Jess McIntosh. “It sucks that’s the situation.”

One popular cliff jumping spot, far from the main beach, was littered with empty beers cans.

“On the busy, busy weekends in summer we need more of an official presence in the park of people patrolling the park and dealing with those users that are coming to cause problems,” says View Royal Mayor David Screech.

CRD bylaw officers were on scene handing out tickets all day Sunday.

They say there were more than 2,000 people at the park — a record-breaking number.

And with the park’s popularity only increasingly, Chief Hurst is now making a public plea for people to be responsible.

“There’s a difference between taking one or two beer into the park as opposed to taking a case of beer and drinking all day and then getting so wasted you can’t function,” says Hurst.

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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