The public is being advised to stay away from Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park.
The popular recreation area has been closed for close to two months, due to significant damage suffered during a massive windstorm on Dec. 20. A huge and difficult cleanup is currently underway, with the goal of completing it before camping season begins in in April.
“The cleanup has been extensive, particularly in Little Qualicum Falls Park where we’ve had anywhere between 250 and 300 trees impacted, meaning trees that fell or trees that were hung up, all of them causing hazard or damage to park facilities,” said Andy MacDonald, section head for BC Parks and Protection Areas.
The campground at the park is scheduled to open April 12 but unfortunately, said MacDonald, not all the sites will be open.
He said while the work is ongoing, the public should not to try and access the park at any time due to safety concerns. MacDonald was upset to find out that there are people ignoring the barriers and taking the cones out of the way to drive inside the park.
“Public safety is paramount,” said MacDonald. “We have gates in place, we have pylons at all entrances, we have signage in place so we really request that co-operation of the public in staying away from the park at this time so we can open it back up as soon as possible.”
MacDonald said they currently have contractors continuing to assess the extent of the damage. Most of the work is also being done tby crews from RCL Park Services.
“It will help us understand the cost of that damage in terms of replacing it or repairing facilities,” said MacDonald. “We are in the process of addressing the cleanup of the largest debris, such as the large trees that are on the ground that will need to be moved by heavy equipment.”
MacDonald said they estimate the cleanup, repairs, removal of hazards and replacement of facilities at Little Qualicum Falls Park to cost approximately $200,000.