Two of the wider “fingers” of the dock structure at Main Beach were closed by the Cultus Lake Parks Board on July 23, 2020, likely for the duration of the summer. The rest of the dock space is open for use. (Cultus Lake Community Association photo)

Parks board closes ‘trouble spots’ at Cultus Lake amid concerns of COVID-19 spread

Officials erect barrier fencing at popular gathering spots for youth, ready to issue to $200 fines

Party’s over.

The two far ends of the dock at Cultus Lake’s Main Beach have been closed — likely for the rest of the summer — in an effort to curb crowding.

On Thursday, July 23, orange security fencing was erected around the two areas, which are popular with younger beach goers. Officials at the Cultus Lake Parks Board are hoping it will cut down on the problematic crowding that’s been happening there recently.

Joe Lamb, CAO for the park, says it was a joint decision between the board and staff, at the staff’s request. They made the decision following “a lot of pressure” over public health and safety this summer.

The two “fingers” that jut out from the dock structure at Main Beach in Cultus Lake have been closed off with orange barrier fencing. The barrier went up on July 23, 2020 to combat crowding, and will likely stay up all summer. (Google Maps image)

“They are trouble spots,” he told The Progress, referring to the two wider “fingers” that jut out from the main dock structure. They are 20 to 25 feet wide, allowing people to lay out in the sun, set up for the day, and create a party atmosphere.

In addition to the physical crowding in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, he says the people who gather are often in the younger demographic and drinking alcohol. They have enacted the closure under safety bylaw that was created last year, and anyone caught disregarding the bylaw will be subject to a $200 fine.

The majority of the dock will remain open, as they are generally used for people who are just sitting along the edge.

Lamb said, in fact, most people who have been visiting the beaches have been physically distancing themselves. Family groups in particular, he said, are finding plenty of space to enjoy the day. With the two far ends of the dock closed off, they’ll be watching to see where people move to, Lamb said.

“They’ll probably be closed off for the summer,” he said. “We will be monitoring whatever issues this creates … the docks seem to be our biggest problem.”

There are bylaw officers and RCMP who monitor Cultus Lake Main Beach on the weekends throughout the summer.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen, but we’re prepared to try this and see.”

There is no provincial enforcement in place on physical distancing, he adds, and the bylaw creates a way to deter crowding through fines. While some provincial parks in the Vancouver area are now subject to day passes, which are limited to decrease traffic, that sort of program would be difficult to install at Cultus Lake, which is a mix of residential, commercial and tourism activity.

“Cultus Lake is about balance,” Lamb says.

He added they will be watching closely this weekend and are prepared to make changes if deemed necessary.

READ MORE: Cultus Lake Park closed to visitors to help stop the spread of COVID-19

READ MORE: Cultus Lake Adventure Park and Cultus Lake Waterpark set to open


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

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