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Parking plan ready to handle seasonal influx of Cultus Lake visitors

RCMP to check vehicles near lake, asking drivers to move, or having vehicles towed to lots
Plans are in the works to once again use parking delineators near Cultus Lake to deal with summer traffic and parked vehicles in no-parking zones along Columbia Valley Road. (MOTI)

With two to three million people visiting the Cultus Lake area every summer, parking challenges during long weekends are a perennial problem.

Responsible agencies have been meeting to map out a 2024 plan for managing the annual influx of visitors this summer.

“I met together with leaders from RCMP, Cultus Lake Park Board, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, City of Chilliwack, BC Parks, Tourism Chilliwack, and Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) to discuss summer plans to manage visitors, vehicles and to keep our area safe,” said Taryn Dixon, director for FVRD electoral area H, in a report to the park board.

RCMP will be patrolling the length of Columbia Valley Highway on the May long weekend and every weekend as the summer rolls out, as some folks try to avoid pay parking by illegally parking along the highway, or choose to do so when the parking lots are full.

Police have two options for dealing with those parked illegally.

“If they see vehicles parked in ‘No Parking’ areas, they will attempt to contact the owner and asked that they be moved, or will call the towing company on their rotation,” Dixon said.

Vehicles will be towed to nearby lots.

Ministry officials are considering adding more of the vertical road delineators on the road from Jade Bay to Spring Bay, but at this point all available funds had already been spent.

“An effort will be made to try and secure funds to add more delineators. This summer the orange pylons will be put up in strategic locations to prevent parking in certain areas,” Dixon said.

BC Parks will manage its own lots and visitors seeking a parking space.

Jurisdictional issues are one of the reasons why there are parking challenges every summer. The FVRD does not have the authority to ticket or tow vehicles parked illegally.

Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure ( MOTI) is the body that manages rural roads, and Columbia Valley Highway is a rural road. MOTI gives RCMP the authority to ticket or tow. However, officers must hand the ticket to the individual, much like a speeding ticket.

RCMP officers on duty in the Cultus Lake area are part of a seasonal policing team, meaning there are only eight to 10 officers assigned to Cultus, Harrison, and Chilliwack River Valley. They work shifts so not all eight officers are on duty at once, and RCMP makes its own operational decisions about where officers are needed most.

READ MORE: Cultus parking a perennial problem on long weekends

Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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