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

Two new recycling trucks on the way for White Rock

Council approves higher cost to reduce operations yard problems

Politicians want Surrey’s Civic Distinction Awards done ‘virtually,’ not postponed

City staff recommended they be put off to the fall of 2021 because of the pandemic

Illegal suite a concern for Cloverdale man

Despite a City-issued stop-work order, construction continues

White Rock Tritons ‘just happy to get out there’ against real competition

BC Premier Baseball League team returns to field against Langley Blaze, Abbotsford Cardinals

Surrey Mounties need help to find missing woman

Hasheena Mundie, 25, was last seen at about 4:20 pm on August 4, in the 16700-block of 61 Avenue

‘Do our lives count for less?’: COVID-19 exposes cracks in disability aid

In July, Parliament approved a $600 payment for people with disabilities facing additional expenses during COVID-19

Agreement between province, BC Hydro, First Nation, ends legal fight over Site C

B.C. will work to improve land management and restore traditional place names in areas of cultural significance

BREAKING: Reported stabbing in Harrison Hot Springs

Police chase ran through Agassiz, witnesses say

VIDEO: B.C. conservation officers free not-so-wily coyote with head stuck in jar

Poor pup was found with a glass jar stuck on its head in Maple Ridge

Fraser Valley Bandits clinch first round bye with win

Bandits defeat Guelph 84-70, advance to the CEBL semifinals on Saturday

B.C. doctors, dentists call on province for mandatory mask rule

Open letter says masks should be worn in indoor public spaces, public transportation or in crowds

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

Maple Ridge firefighting camp empowers young women

Camp Ignite to take place at Justice Institute on Sunday, Aug. 9

Most Read

l -->