With over 6.3 million visits annually – the majority of which come during the summer months – the region’s parks and trail systems are certainly a popular aspect of life on the South Island.
As such, each summer the Capital Regional District teams up with the RCMP to keep these parks and trail systems a safe place for both residents and visitors to enjoy.
“CRD bylaw officers work closely with the region’s RCMP detachments to increase enforcement presence during peak times,” says Mike Walton, senior manager of CRD Regional Parks. “This strategy is effective in reducing bylaw violations including alcohol use.”
“We will have bike patrol units out and about throughout the summer,” says Const. Alex Berube of the West Shore RCMP, who will be part of the patrols.
“We will be enforcing criminal code offences as well as provincial statutes such as the Liquor Control and Licensing Act and the Motor Vehicle Act.”
Beyond that, Berube says, they are mainly hoping to help people enjoy their summer outdoors in a safe manner.
He says it’s important to have a visible presence out in nature to deter people from committing crime, as well as to target specific areas where the possibility of behaviour which could negatively affect people’s enjoyment of the region takes place. Those specific areas will be determined throughout the summer and change when necessary.
“A big issue that we deal with in parks is people littering,” Berube says, “often caused by individuals bringing alcohol into the parks at night.”
Berube says that his own family also spends a significant amount of time out in nature. So he’s not only a police officer concerned with keeping people safe, he’s a community member who wants the best possible community to live in, which includes safety and cleanliness in local parks.
The bike patrols won’t be solely focused on parks and trails, he says.
“Don’t be surprised to see an officer on a bike pulling up next to you as you are stopped at a red light. We are still enforcing the Motor Vehicle Act and keeping an eye out for those who try to be discreet by using their cellphones in their laps.”
CRD bylaw officers will circulate in the parks and on trails, enforcing their own bylaws, as well.
“The CRD reminds the public that alcohol, smoking and fires are prohibited at all times in regional parks,” says a recent release from the organization, along with a reminder that from June 1 to Sept. 15, dogs must be leashed at all times within the parks.
Any violations of CRD bylaws within the region’s parks or on the trails should be reported at 250-478-3344 or by email at crd firstname.lastname@example.org. For serious incidents, dial 911.