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Unsanctioned Gulf Island wedding leads to restorative justice

Sensitive habitat mowed and trampled, revellers asked to commit to “lifelong stewardship’
A celebration for a couple making a lifelong commitment to each other led to revellers being asked to make a lifelong commitment to environmental stewardship. (pixabay photo)

Parkland impacted by an unsanctioned wedding on South Pender Island last summer was among the infractions Capital Regional District parks staff dealt with in 2021.

A report outlining enforcement actions taken in regional parks and trails highlighted an illegal wedding in Brooks Point Regional Park that left federally-designated critical habitat mowed and trampled.

No court action was taken as a result, as the CRD’s park enforcement program opted for the use of restorative justice, a process where offenders must reconcile with impacted parties.

This process is less costly compared to court actions and “can help create lifelong stewards with a better understanding of the values that CRD Regional Parks protect,” the report stated.

Beyond the unsanctioned nuptials, park rangers and bylaw officers issued more than 200 tickets and hundreds of written warnings in 2021. Illegal parking was the most ticketed offence, followed by people failing to obey signage, illegal camping and liquor-related issues.

An increased enforcement presence in Thetis Lake Regional Park targeted people not following park rules and the prevention of such actions as cliff jumping and drinking. The report said no major incidents occurred in the park during the 2021 peak season, noting that rangers and bylaw officers spent a collective 2,300 hours on patrol in the park during that time.

CRD Parks is budgeting for an additional 1.5 full-time rangers in its 2022. In 2021, enforcement staff included one senior ranger, 3.5 full-time park rangers and four auxiliary rangers who worked from April to October. Park enforcement is key for ensuring visitor safety and protecting park values, the report stated.

READ: CRD seeks Greater Victoria, Gulf Islands residents’ input on proposed parks plan Follow us on Instagram. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Jake Romphf

About the Author: Jake Romphf

In early 2021, I made the move from the Great Lakes to Greater Victoria with the aim of experiencing more of the country I report on.
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