Large logs that once bordered Mount Douglas Park were recently chopped up and removed from the park – despite bylaws banning the actions – leaving behind a trail of sawdust. (Photo courtesy Darrell Wick)

Large logs that once bordered Mount Douglas Park were recently chopped up and removed from the park – despite bylaws banning the actions – leaving behind a trail of sawdust. (Photo courtesy Darrell Wick)

Wood snatchers illegally chop, smuggle logs out of Saanich park

Parks bylaw prohibits removing wood, using chainsaws in parks

A few piles of sawdust are all that remains of two massive logs the once bordered Mount Douglas Park and stewards remind park-users that taking wood from Saanich parks is a bylaw infraction.

On the morning of Thursday, Dec. 4, Darrell Wick, president of the Friends of Mount Douglas Park Society, noticed that at some point in the night, someone had come by and chopped up half a log in the park near the Cordova Bay Road bus stop.

By Saturday morning, the entire log was gone, and he assumes it was the same person who filled their vehicle the first night.

READ ALSO: Mushroom pickers disregard bylaws for Mount Douglas Park

Less than a week later, another log in the park along Ash Road disappeared. Based on the size of the logs and the amount of sawdust left behind, Wick assumes a chainsaw was used.

Taking wood from Saanich parks is in violation of the municipality’s parks management bylaws. While the large logs were situated along the side of the road, they were still in the park and had been placed there for a reason. For example, the log taken from Cordova Bay Road provided a barrier for people waiting at the bus stop.

READ ALSO: Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

Unfortunately, this isn’t a new problem in Mount Douglas Park and Wick said it isn’t always possible to enforce the rule if the wood is taken overnight.

Saanich’s bylaws don’t permit wood or trees to be removed from the parks. (Photo courtesy Darrell Wick)

About 10 years ago, after several incidents with wood being taken from the park, the district put up a sign that says “removal of wood or use of a chainsaw is not permitted in Saanich parks – Parks Bylaw #7753.”

The sign is still there but wasn’t enough to deter the most recent wood snatchers.

Aside from educating park-users about the bylaws, staff and volunteers with the group also try to keep all logs in the park large enough that they can’t be carried out, Wick said.

READ ALSO: Trees topped, greenery snatched from Saanich park

The bylaw also applies to live trees, Wick noted. In previous years, the Friends of Mount Douglas Park Society has encountered people collecting their Christmas trees in the park – another infraction.

“It’s selfish to take wood, trees, anything from the park,” he said.

Eva Riccius, senior manager of parks for Saanich, said anyone found in violation of the rules would be issued a ticket for “no less than $100.”

“It’s not authorized,” she emphasized. “Please don’t do it.”


@devonscarlett
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