British Columbia

Parks, beaches across Metro Vancouver closed to reduce long-weekend crowding

From the West End of Vancouver to White Rock’s waterfront, municipalities across the Metro Vancouver region are rolling out a swath of measures to keep crowds down in popular urban parks and beaches this weekend.

Many parks, beaches, roads have been closed to deter large gatherings, encourage physical distancing

Deep Cove parking lot is closed in North Vancouver on Thursday, April 9. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

From Vancouver's West End to White Rock's waterfront, municipalities across the Metro Vancouver region are rolling out a swath of measures to keep crowds down in popular urban parks and beaches this weekend.

Park officials said bylaw officers will be out in force watching for anyone not observing physical distancing measures, and will issue fines if they spot groups not following provincial guidelines.

The Fraser Valley's Cultus Lake Park is one such recreational area that will remain closed until further notice to discourage large gatherings, which officials worry will lead to accelerated COVID-19 virus transmission.

In White Rock, officials said the city's popular waterfront promenade will be closed to the public in order to reduce the number of visitors to the seaside park.

The mayor of White Rock has announced the closure of the popular promenade that leads to its iconic pier. (Christian Amundson/CBC)

White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker announced the decision Wednesday, anticipating groups on the beach and walkways of the popular tourist destination as warm weather and long weekends approach.

"Right now, starting on Easter weekend, we are saying, this is not the time to visit."

Crews had already begun putting up fencing around the promenade Wednesday, while other areas such as waterfront parking lots and the pier were closed back in March.

In North Vancouver, several parks are closed to the public, including the parking lots at Lynn Headwaters Regional Park and the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve during the long weekend.

The backcountry in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park. The Metro Vancouver regional park have closed parking lots to discourage park visitors. (Metro Vancouver.)

Elsewhere, districts and municipalities are closing roads to non-local traffic, restricting parking, and even putting bylaw officers back on the streets to monitor parking meters.

In Vancouver, a statement from city officials says it is resuming enforcement of permit-parking zones in the West End neighbourhood to discourage visitors to nearby beaches and Stanley Park.

The seawall has been closed to cyclists to leave more room for pedestrians. Cyclists can still use Stanley Park Drive and Beach Avenue.

The city also banned car access to the city's largest park earlier this week.

Police from Lions Bay to Pemberton said officers would be out in force over the weekend to address social distancing concerns.

In a statement, Sea to Sky RCMP said officers will be patrolling parks, backcountry and ski hills and conducting vehicle stops on the Sea to Sky Highway.

On Wednesday, B.C. Parks closed all provincial parks across the province.

Many Metro Vancouver regional parks remain open, although park facilities such as playgrounds, docks, rental facilities and picnic areas are closed.

"If you want to visit a regional park, stay local and do not travel across the region to visit [one]," urged Metro Vancouver officials.

The following regional parks and beaches are closed to the public:

  • Cultus Lake Park
  • White Rock waterfront promenade and pier
  • Stanley Park (car access banned)
  • Deas Island Regional Park
  • Boundary Bay Regional Park
  • Lynn Headwaters Regional Park parking lots
  • Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve parking lots
  • Barnston Island Regional Park
  • Brae Island Regional Park
  • Capilano Fish Hatchery
  • Snug Cove picnic shelters at Crippen Regional Park

A full list and details of partial closures can be found here.

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