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North Saanich resident says fire risk should close park to vehicles

Robin Chown has found many cigarette butts around LAU,WELNEW/John Dean Provincial Park
Robin Chown has found many cigarette butts on the access road and main parking lot at LAU,WELNEW/John Dean Provincial Park. (Courtesy Robin Chown)

A North Saanich man would like to see LAU,WELNEW/John Dean Provincial Park closed to vehicles after finding cigarette butts on the access road and main parking lot.

Robin Chown found five cigarette butts at the park on Aug. 3 and Aug. 19.

“There’s no ashtrays in modern cars anymore so the only ashtray available is out the car window in the bush,” Chown said. “I believe closing the park gate would really prevent the likelihood of a fire breaking out. The danger risk is extreme. It’s bothering a lot of people here.”

The park is surrounded by 782 homes and vital communications equipment.

As of Tuesday (Aug. 29) afternoon, BC Wildfire Service rated the fire danger around Dean Park as moderate.

Chown says this situation is similar to the 2021 heat dome, when a group of residents at Dean Park Estates found many cigarette butts in and around the park.

“The group expressed their findings to the appropriate government departments including BC Parks,” Chown added.

The group did end up meeting with BC Parks at LAU,WELNEW/John Dean Provincial Park, but the gate remained open to vehicular traffic.

“They listened but they didn’t seem concerned or bothered,” Chown said.

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Brendan Mayer

About the Author: Brendan Mayer

I spent my upbringing in Saskatoon, and in 2021, I made the move to Vancouver Island.
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