Thetis Lake Regional Park is one of the most popular recreational gems in the Capital Regional District, with more than half a million visitors each year.
But it has a dark side.
“A segment of the population going to the park not only have no regard for their own safety, but no regard for first responders,” says Paul Hurst, chief of View Royal Fire Rescue.
Now, Thetis Lake is going to be patrolled full-time by emergency officials to try and make it safer, with the goal of fewer 911 calls.
They also hope it will encourage people to think twice about making reckless decisions, like cliff jumping.
“If you make the choice to jump off the cliffs, that’s your choice. But, if you’re impaired and you make the choice to jump off the cliffs in contravention to the bylaw and we have to come out and perform a rescue, there’s a cost associated to that,” added Hurst.
That cost is roughly $2,000 per hour.
Recently, a draft bylaw was presented to the Town of View Royal council to try and charge individuals who called for rescues, but it’s currently on hold as there were concerns it would discourage people from calling for help.
Town of View Royal Mayor David Screech hopes people will simply follow some basic rules.
“Remember to use common sense, follow the rules, don’t take alcohol in, don’t jump off the cliffs. Go enjoy the park and behave yourselves,” says Screech.
In the meantime, the hope is the presence of emergency crews this summer in the park will ease the pressure on local crews and keep people safer.