Cultus Lake residents say lives are endangered by visitors who ignore no-parking zones

In a Facebook letter, a resident says emergency crews can’t get through to answer distress calls

People living at the southwest end of Cultus Lake are running out of patience with visitors who park where they shouldn’t.

In an open letter posted to Facebook and accompanied by a video, Katrina Clow said beachgoers who ignore posted no-parking zones are putting lives in danger.

“The no-parking zones on the sides of the road may seem like an easily ignored inconvenience to many of you who can’t find space in the lot at your beach of choice,” she wrote. “However, for those who call this area home they’re an important lifeline.”

Clow explained that there is only one road leading in and out of communities at that end of the lake, and those routes need to be kept clear so emergency vehicles can quickly respond to calls. The shoulders of the road are supposed to be available for vehicles to pull over and let emergency crews through, but when the shoulders are lined with parked cars, ambulances and fire trucks can find themselves stuck.

READ MORE: Cultus Lake closes trouble spots on Main Beach docks

READ MORE: With 18 drowning deaths in B.C. this year, advocates urge caution

“It can take upwards of one-and-a-half hours for emergency services to reach people in need,” Clow wrote. “Now consider if it was your parent having a heart attack or your child had a bad fall? Perhaps your loved one went for a hike or swim and required immediate help from search and rescue? How would you feel knowing the help they need is unlikely to reach them in time?”

This isn’t a new complaint. In her letter, Clow claimed the no-parking zones have been in place for 20 years, but they’ve never been enforced.

“The parks cannot ticket, both highways and RCMP will not attend because it’s in provincial parks and the Fraser Valley Regional District has been trying in vain to get the power to ticket or tow,” she wrote.

Responding to Clow’s letter, Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) Area H director Taryn Dixon said she recently wrote to the RCMP Superintendent, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) and B.C. Parks and had positive responses from all three.

“The Superintendent has assigned an RCMP officer to get to work on this and improve things,” Dixon said. “He will be working with other RCMP officers, MOTI, FVRD, City of Chilliwack, B.C. Parks, Soowahlie First Nation and the Cultus Lake Park Board to try and create a long-term plan that will work.

“It’s not about shutting the park down and not allowing visitors but I do think it’s about being realistic in how many visitors/guests the park can safely manage. The road needs to be safe for drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and for emergency vehicles that need to get places. Sometimes in emergencies, seconds matter.”


@ProgressSports
eric.welsh@theprogress.com

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