Lake Sasamat, pictured on Sunday, July 19, 2020, has seen an increase in beach-goers not respecting social distancing, and that has public officials in the area concerned. (igamband/Twitter)

Lake Sasamat, pictured on Sunday, July 19, 2020, has seen an increase in beach-goers not respecting social distancing, and that has public officials in the area concerned. (igamband/Twitter)

Belcarra mayor disappointed at ‘lawlessness, disrespect’ from large crowds at local lakes

Police are urging people to practice caution in areas where ‘appropriate physical distancing is not feasible’

With heat waves this past weekend in the Lower Mainland, British Columbia residents might be looking to get away from the COVID-19 pandemic at local parks and beaches. However, police are now saying that large crowds in Port Moody are leading to heightened tensions.

Port Moody Police said in a news release that the large numbers of people at Sasamat Lake and White Pine Beach in Belcarra Regional Park is contributing to that friction. Officers say that they have responded to reports of physical assaults, assault with bear spray, intoxication and liquor consumption, and abuse of bylaw officers. Alcohol is prohibited inside the park. Overcrowding has also created some traffic issues, with illegal parking and people walking on the road.

Belcarra Mayor Neil Belenkie was quoted recently as calling Sasamat Lake the “Florida of Metro Vancouver” in a radio story due to the number of young people not practicing social distancing. He says that he and his constituents are deeply concerned by what they’ve been seeing.

“There’s lots of fear due to the lack of social distancing,” said Belenkie told Black Press Media Tuesday (July 28). “The environment is being trashed by car damage, littering and people parking on the side of the road.”

RELATED: Top doctor says ‘upswing’ in Western Canada’s COVID cases is pushing the curve upwards

“The volume of people is one thing, but the lawlessness and disrespect we’ve seen is unbelievable.”

In Belcarra, Fraser Health also released an advisory urging people to avoid swimming at White Pine Beach after testing at Sasamat Lake found high levels of E.coli contamination. The test – conducted on July 24 – found that the contamination exceeded 400 parts of bacteria per 100 ml of water.

A “satisfactory” E.coli result, according to the Fraser Health website, is less or equal to 200 E.coli bacteria per 100 ml.

That being said, Belenkie isn’t convinced theadvisory will deter people from showing up to Sasamat Lake.

“I think that the demographic of people who are coming out are obviously not concerned about their health or the health of people around them. They’re obviously not concerned about the pandemic.”

B.C. Premier John Horgan said he was disappointed to see video footage of crowds at beaches in Kelowna and Vancouver. However, Horgan has previously stated that the province would not penalize people for breaking public health guidelines, and the province will continue with this strategy.

– With files from The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Russell Jonathon George Gurney was last seen in Chilliwack in mid-December. (RCMP photo)
RCMP ask for help to find missing Abbotsford man last seen in Chilliwack

Police and family are concerned for the well-being of Russell Jonathon George Gurney

The Harrison Hot Springs village office, as seen from the back. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
Harrison village staff to get additional office space

The village has agreed to spend up to $75,000 of the COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant on a new portable

Harrison Hot Springs kindergarten students held a peaceful protest Monday (Jan. 18) to end separated recess. The protest was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. and his lessons of non-violent action. Check out page XX for the whole story. (Dustin Neufeld/Contributed)
PHOTOS: Harrison students launch peaceful protest against playground division for MLK day

The kindergarten students negotiated with the school principal to enable recess on both playgrounds

Ottawa serial killer Camille Joseph Cleroux died of natural causes at Abbotsford’s Pacific Institution on Sunday.
Serial killer housed at Abbotsford’s Pacific Institution dies of natural causes

Camille Joseph Cleroux announced dead on Sunday, known as notorious Ottawa serial killer

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Most Read