Fire chief says it's time to bill people for 'moronic behaviour' at Thetis Lake
VICTORIA -- A Victoria-area fire chief says he's fed up with the disorderly behaviour at Thetis Lake Regional Park and believes it's time to either close parts of the popular summertime recreation site or start billing people who need to be rescued due to their own bad decisions.
View Royal Fire Chief Paul Hurst says firefighters were called twice to the park on Saturday. The first call was to help remove a 15-year-old who was unconscious from drinking too much. The second call came in just minutes later when somebody lit a fire that burned out of control on the island in the middle of the lake.
"Just moronic behaviour," Hurst says. "Just stupid, ridiculous behaviour that defies logic."
The fire chief says firefighters and bylaw officers attending to the park are routinely abused by the small minority of people who misuse the area.
"The silver lining of the weekend was we only had one really good day of sun," Hurst says.
The chief says he plans to meet with the Capital Regional District, which operates the park, to discuss tough new measures to crack down on alcohol abuse and other misbehaviour in the park.
"If it means closing the park, that's an option maybe," Hurst says. "I'm going to be researching and presenting a bylaw amendment in the fall where I'm going to do everything I can to make sure the costs associated with pulling you out of the back of the park because you're so drunk you can't walk, I'm going to send you that bill. And if you're a minor, I'm going to send it to your parents because I don’t see too many parents picking up the phone thanking me for picking up their 15-year-old who is drunk in the back of the lake."
Hurst says a bill of between $2,500 and $3,500 would be appropriate for an unnecessary rescue in the park.
"We'll hit them where it hurts," he says. "Is it going to stop it? Probably not, but it will sure be a painful kick when you get a $2,500 bill in the mail because your child was acting irresponsibly in the park."