The parking lot at Willows Beach Park joins those across the region now closed to the public. (@OakBayPolice/Twitter)

The parking lot at Willows Beach Park joins those across the region now closed to the public. (@OakBayPolice/Twitter)

Popular parking lots closing across Vancouver Island to encourage long weekend social distancing

Officials concerned warm weather will ease people’s commitment to fighting the pandemic

When they told you they wanted you to stay home this long weekend, they meant it.

And just in case you didn’t get the message, they blocked the parking lot access to many of your favourite outdoor spots.

Visitors to popular outdoor spots like Willows Beach in Oak Bay, the Holland Creek Trail system in Ladysmith, and many other spots around the Island arrived to find the parking lots closed Thursday.

”The Town understands the strong desire for everyone to be outside as temperatures begin to warm and days are becoming longer,” a Town of Ladysmith news release states. “Closing the parking lots will ease congestion at the trailhead, decrease the number of hikers and walkers on the Holland Creek Trail loop and discourage visitors to our community this weekend.”

The changes are in line with other parking and access limitations in the region that start Friday, April 10. The City of Victoria is closing streets and reassigning parking near Beacon Hill Park and Dallas Road every weekend starting with Easter. In Saanich, Mt. Doug Park is closed for the long weekend and the gates will reopen on April 14 at noon.

The closures all come amid the COVID-19 pandemic as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads with residents to maintain social distancing even during the nice weather.

RELATED: Officials ask for continued COVID-19 vigilance over Easter weekend

RELATED: B.C. closes all provincial parks for COVID-19 protection

“I look forward to seeing our parks bustling with play dates and picnics again one day, but right now we are following Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice to limit the spread of COVID-19,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps in a statement. “Now is the time for people to remain in their home municipalities and to use the parks and trail systems nearby. So if you do go out for exercise and fresh air, a walk close to home is your best option.”

“We want families to have fun and enjoy themselves as much as possible during this challenging time,” said Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes. “I know we all appreciate that our personal behaviour over this coming weekend will directly impact how we can flatten the COVID-19 curve and keep our communities and loved ones safe.”

For more news from the Island and beyond delivered directly to your email inbox, click here.

vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter
and Instagram

Just Posted

Ucluelet local Geoff Johnson snapped this photo of a Risso’s dolphin that washed up near Chesterman Beach in Tofino on Wednesday, Jan. 13. (Geoff Johnson photo)
Washed up Risso’s dolphin offers glimpse into “whole other world” near Tofino

“It’s like a UFO crash landed and you can come look at it”

This weekend Amy Pye is holding a virtual book launch for her latest children’s book, <em>Bruce the Silly Goose</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Nanaimo writer and illustrator pens children’s book about COVID-19 safety

Amy Pye to hold online book launch for ‘Bruce the Silly Goose’

Coaches with the Juan de Fuca Minor Hockey association have had to get creative during their weekly practices to keep players interested and improving their skills without physical contact. (Damian Kowalewich photo)
Vancouver Island minor hockey coach shares what it’s like on the ice without parents, fans

Most practices consist of relay races, goalie shots and passing drills

3L Developments has stated it is pulling the plug on its plans to build a residential neighbourhood in the Stotan Falls area. The company has repeatedly offered to turn the Stotan Falls area into parkland, if the CVRD were to amend its Regional Growth Strategy to allow for a residential community to be built in the area. The CVRD has steadfastly turned down the development company. File photo.
Plugged pulled on decade-old Comox Valley development project

3L Developments say there will be no further development applications filed for Stotan Falls

The profitability of Victoria International Airport dropped by almost $17 million in 2020 because of COVID-19. (Black Press Media File)
Victoria International Airport revenues in a tailspin

While airport made $9.2 million in profits 2019, COVID-19 brought estimated losses of $7.5 million

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

Jackie Hildering, whale researcher with the Marine Education and Research Society, and Nanaimo Area Land Trust will present the Return of Giants, a webinar about the humpback whales’ return from the brink of extinction and how boaters can help protect them. (Jackie Hildering/MERS photo taken under Marine Mammal License MML-42)
‘Return of the Giants:’ B.C. getting a second chance to coexist with humpback whales

‘Marine Detective’ partners with Nanaimo stewardship group on webinar

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

The Gardens at Qualicum Beach is now owned by family-owned The Care Group. (thegardensatqualicum.com)
The Gardens at Qualicum Beach has new owners

Family has travelled to Qualicum Beach for more than a century

Most Read