Beloved Cobble Hill quarry officially closed to public after fatal injuries sustained at the site
VICTORIA -- A secret swimming spot in Cobble Hill is now off-limits and police are circling the area warning anyone who tries to enter the private property that they’ll be fined.
The quarry, also known as Kingzett Lake, has been used by the public for almost 16 years. The massive property belongs to two brothers who bought it as an investment years ago.
“It’s a very beautiful spot,” said co-owner Grant Dakus.
Social media and online publications have drawn people to the quarry with pristine waters over the years.
Dakus said the location has become popular quickly and, at times, more than 500 vehicles are parked on the property.
“It’s just gotten so big so fast and so out of control,” he said. “There have been so many people that use it and respect it.”
Dakus and his brother have decided to close and block off the property for now and want it to be turned into a regional park for everyone to use.
“We need to close it for now and we need to try our very best to get it into a park status,” he said.
The closure comes a few days after a someone died of injuries sustained at the site. CTV News has confirmed with the BC Coroners Services that a man died on July 9 after an incident at the quarry on June 27.
“I heard that he went off a cliff with his ATV,” said resident Owen Seeton. “It’s a tragedy for him and his family.”
The Dakus brothers have received numerous tempting offers for the property, but have always turned them down and want to gift the property to the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD).
“If we do sell it to an individual, I don’t think it will ever belong to the people in that area and the people of B.C., and we strongly believe that is the way it should stay,” he said. “I don’t think any one person should own that lake… that is our thoughts.”
A CVRD spokesperson tells CTV News that the area has been identified within its regional parks and trails master plan as desirable for regional parkland, but there are no formal negotiations happening right now.
“A gift would be the best, selling it doesn’t really make a lot of sense because I don’t think they are ever going to come up with the kind of offer we just had,” said Dakus.
Over a year ago, an online petition was created by Bailey Baugh, which called for the quarry to be turned into an official regional park.
“Over the last couple of years it’s just getting busier and busier and although people do a pretty good job of cleaning up after themselves it just seems like it is about time something happens with that land,” said Baugh.
Baugh wants the quarry to be a public park and hopes the petition will help make that change.
“Unless we have a time machine there is no way the quarry is going back to being a private place so please continue to share the petition and keep the pressure on, making this a top of mind issue,” she said.
Police spoke to multiple people who arrived at the property on Monday and Dakus says that the RCMP have access to the property and the ability to fine anyone who is caught trespassing.