Lake Sasamat, pictured on Sunday, July 19, 2020, has seen an increase in beach-goers not respecting social distancing, and that has public officials in the area concerned. (igamband/Twitter)

Belcarra mayor disappointed at ‘lawlessness, disrespect’ from large crowds at local lakes

Police are urging people to practice caution in areas where ‘appropriate physical distancing is not feasible’

With heat waves this past weekend in the Lower Mainland, British Columbia residents might be looking to get away from the COVID-19 pandemic at local parks and beaches. However, police are now saying that large crowds in Port Moody are leading to heightened tensions.

Port Moody Police said in a news release that the large numbers of people at Sasamat Lake and White Pine Beach in Belcarra Regional Park is contributing to that friction. Officers say that they have responded to reports of physical assaults, assault with bear spray, intoxication and liquor consumption, and abuse of bylaw officers. Alcohol is prohibited inside the park. Overcrowding has also created some traffic issues, with illegal parking and people walking on the road.

Belcarra Mayor Neil Belenkie was quoted recently as calling Sasamat Lake the “Florida of Metro Vancouver” in a radio story due to the number of young people not practicing social distancing. He says that he and his constituents are deeply concerned by what they’ve been seeing.

“There’s lots of fear due to the lack of social distancing,” said Belenkie told Black Press Media Tuesday (July 28). “The environment is being trashed by car damage, littering and people parking on the side of the road.”

RELATED: Top doctor says ‘upswing’ in Western Canada’s COVID cases is pushing the curve upwards

“The volume of people is one thing, but the lawlessness and disrespect we’ve seen is unbelievable.”

In Belcarra, Fraser Health also released an advisory urging people to avoid swimming at White Pine Beach after testing at Sasamat Lake found high levels of E.coli contamination. The test – conducted on July 24 – found that the contamination exceeded 400 parts of bacteria per 100 ml of water.

A “satisfactory” E.coli result, according to the Fraser Health website, is less or equal to 200 E.coli bacteria per 100 ml.

That being said, Belenkie isn’t convinced theadvisory will deter people from showing up to Sasamat Lake.

“I think that the demographic of people who are coming out are obviously not concerned about their health or the health of people around them. They’re obviously not concerned about the pandemic.”

B.C. Premier John Horgan said he was disappointed to see video footage of crowds at beaches in Kelowna and Vancouver. However, Horgan has previously stated that the province would not penalize people for breaking public health guidelines, and the province will continue with this strategy.

– With files from The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey students paint mural, paying homage to First Nations, at SkyTrain station

Artwork to showcase ‘positivity and racial inclusivity in the city’

PHOTOS: Residents showcased as ‘companion’ sculpture unveiled

Amica White Rock welcomes bronze guardian, celebrates resident talent

More than 50,000 checks: Surrey COVID-19 compliance, enforcement team’s role has ‘evolved’

Joint bylaw, RCMP team created to help with coronavirus education, support

Homemade explosives detonated in South Surrey

Police asking public for help identifying those responsible

White Rock highrise on hold after workers exhibit ‘severe’ overexposure symptoms

WorkSafeBC issued stop-work order at 1588 Johnston Rd. site on July 24

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

PHOTOS/VIDEO: Wings and Wheels set for weekend lift-off in Abbotsford

Fundraiser to raise money for Crystal Gala Foundation and the fight against breast cancer

Undercover video shows alleged animal abuse at Fraser Valley egg farm

One employee wearing logo of Chilliwack chicken-catching company already facing abuse charges

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

Most Read