More than a month after a violent windstorm left thousands without power and damaged property, the province is still getting a handle on how bad the damage is to to a handful of Vancouver Island provincial parks.
Both MacMillan and Little Qualicum provincial parks were closed in December after the storm, though the southern portion of MacMillan Park (the big tree side) is now open for public use.
“The downed trees have affected access, park capital facilities and water infrastructure,” said David Karn, a communications person with Environment and Climate Change Strategy.
“We remain in the assessment phase and are unable to report out what specific repairs will be required in each of the parks.”
Images shared by Karn show picnic areas covered in pine-tree debris, washrooms with fallen trees laying across their roofs, as well as obstructing trails.
RLC Park Services, which appears to be assisting with clean-up and repairs at Little Qualicum Falls posted photos to Facebook showing the damage, and asked the public to heed warning signs and not enter the park.
“The damage to Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park from the December storm is immense,” reads the post. “We all want to get back into this well loved park but the work is forced to slow and stop if people ignore signs and enter the park.”
Karn said there was not yet any planned re-opening date for the parks as assessments of the damage continue. Visitors to the Little Qualicum web page are greeted by the following notice:
“The campground and trails were heavily impacted by a major storm event, and clean up is underway. In the meantime, reservations cannot be accepted until further notice.”
A windstorm-related warning is also posted about Hemer Provincial park, in the Cedar area south of Nanaimo.
“The trails in the park have suffered significant damage and the trails are inaccessible due to downed trees. Members of the public are discouraged from accessing the park until appropriate assessments can be completed to ensure the park is safe.