There may be more overall traffic at BC Parks in the area thanks to the recent waiving of parking fees, but what is definitely anticipated is a higher percentage of local visitors.
The Juan de Fuca Regional Park Watch Society started it’s active 2011 season this past weekend and cloudy, cool weather kept the crowds away according to spokesperson Marie Mills. The society works to deter thefts from vehicles and offer assistance to the public as it is able.
The outfit has 18 members, consistent with the past several years. Mills said new patrollers had been recruited for Port Renfrew to take the place of John Paul Jones who had passed away this spring.
It’s not likely anyone would complain about free parking, regardless of where they’re from, but visitors have proven to be somewhat more likely to accept the fees in the interest of getting to the local attractions.
Mills is sure the numbers of local park visitors will now grow and if nature cooperates with nice weather it could be a banner year for local park attendance.
Of all the areas in it’s territory, there are two remaining parking lots where fees are still payable – the upper two at the Potholes, and Mills says related complaints have been noted. She feels the CRD will likely get continuing fallout on the topic as long as the fees are in effect.
The JDF Regional ParkWatch Society is a local registered non-profit society with charitable status. ParkWatch provides a summer security patrol.
Patrollers are in the parks from May to September providing the necessary service of parking lot security. Their presence brings a level of comfort to local people and tourists.
ParkWatch covers the parking lots of Matheson Lake, Aylard Farm, Pike Road, Roche Cove, Sooke Potholes, French Beach, China Beach, and Botanical Beach.