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

Maple Ridge movie industry almost back to “normal”

City of Maple Ridge film production liaison “swamped with productions”

Ridge Meadows RCMP announce detachment’s biggest drug, weapons and cash bust

Five month investigation resulted in large fentanyl seizure

Pitt Meadows woman gives birth on in-laws’ driveway

Frédérique Gagnon new son is appropriately named after Norse trickster god

Residents treated for smoke inhalation after fire in Maple Ridge building

Fire took place in the 11800 block of Laity Street

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

BCSPCA partners with Crime Stoppers

Many call in to the SPCA, but want to remain anonymous: Eccles

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

We were a bit tone deaf: Hobo Cannabis renamed Dutch Love after backlash

Hobo Cannabis has various locations in Vancouver, Kelowna and Ottawa

Most Read