VICTORIA -- With the B.C. government announcing closures at all provincial parks due to COVID-19, residents of Vancouver Island are now calling on the Capital Regional District (CRD) to close down local parks.

The B.C. government announced Wednesday that all provincial parks would be closed to encourage physical distancing, especially as the Easter long weekend approaches.

“Because physical distancing works, it is critical that we take every action needed to restrict the spread of COVID-19.” said B.C. Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman in a statement Wednesday. Meanwhile, national park facilities were closed down by the federal government in March.

Now, some Vancouver Island residents are calling for the Capital Regional District to follow suit.

“With recent closures announced for campgrounds… and all provincial parks, the pressure on the few remaining CRD parks is going to be unbelievable and unmanageable,” said one Sooke resident.

“I live near the Sea to Sea Regional Park on Harbourview Road in Sooke,” he said. “This past weekend was a nightmare of traffic in this neighbourhood with the CRD parking lots full, and cars parking up and down the narrow roads.”

Currently, all CRD regional parks are open to visitors, so long as trail users adhere to provincial health orders, like physical distancing.

According to the CRD’s website, the district’s decision to open or close parks will depend on recommendations by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

While CRD Regional Parks are currently open, many district amenities have been closed to the public, including playgrounds, campgrounds, bike racks, and picnic tables and shelters.