Home Canada Wreck Beach is more popular than ever. But it’s leading to increased emergencies and safety concerns

Wreck Beach is more popular than ever. But it’s leading to increased emergencies and safety concerns

by News Desk
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Vancouver’s Wreck Beach is a popular hangout for locals and tourists alike.

Stretching along seven kilometers of beachfront on the west coast of the Point Gray Peninsula near the University of British Columbia, this isolated beach is accessible only via a 500-step forest trail. It’s also famous for being the waterfront for some of the area’s most popular clothing options.

But Metro Vancouver’s staff said its surge in popularity over the past few years has led to an increase in emergencies and public safety incidents, and a shortage of resources.

“The surge in user numbers and incidents over the last few years… has been pretty dramatic, and it’s been a challenge,” said Paul Buller, department manager for the West Area of ​​Metro Vancouver Regional Parks.

staff on Wednesday Submit a report Metro Vancouver’s Regional Parks Commission has been briefed on concerns and solutions for the 2023 season, including more police assistance.

More than 838,000 people visited Wreck Beach last year, according to staff. This is his 44% increase over his five years ago.

Hundreds of emergency calls

Metro Vancouver staff said emergency responders are dealing with a growing number of incidents, including wildfires, overdoses and clashes between visitors.

According to the report, in the past five years, there have been 210 emergency calls to the University RCMP detachment, 170 calls to the BC Emergency Medical Service, 130 calls to the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Service, and 79 calls to the Canadian Coast Guard.

While Wreck Beach’s isolation adds to its appeal, it also poses a major problem for emergency responders.

“Given the complexity of how busy the site gets and the challenge of going up and down stairs, that creates some of the challenges we’ve seen,” said Brar.

In the event of a medical emergency, responders often contact the Canadian Coast Guard, which transports patients to banks in Spain in hovercraft, Brar said. But the Coast Guard isn’t always available, forcing emergency responders to the arduous task of carrying a patient on a stretcher up her 500 steps through the woods.

In 2022, the university’s RCMP detachment was unable to patrol the beach and provide assistance due to limited resources. (Benoit Ferradini/Radio Canada)

call for police reinforcement

In the report, staff highlighted that they have made several changes to Wreck Beach to accommodate the growing number of visitors and to better respond to emergencies.

In 2022, the University RCMP detachment said it was unable to patrol the beach due to limited resources.

“The lack of police presence has created challenges in responding to incidents involving drugs and alcohol, as well as closing the beach at night,” the report said.

Metro Vancouver says it is working with the RCMP and is requesting additional support for 2023.

During the winter, storms wash debris and large logs onto the beach. Metro Vancouver staff cleaned the beach and rearranged logs to create more open space for both the public and first responders.

A storage facility has been constructed on the beach where emergency responders can store equipment. BCEHS will provide naloxone kits and train Wreck Beach vendors on how to use them in case of an overdose.

A security light has been installed at one of the trailheads to help beachgoers once the sun goes down. There are signs posted around Wreck Beach explaining the rules.

Staff also clean the beach nightly to ensure there are no campfires and remove excess beach logs used for firewood to avoid potential wildfires.

early version8:03Surge in visitor numbers to Wreck Beach raises safety concerns at popular nudist spot

Metro Vancouver Regional Park West Area Division Manager Paul Buller speaks with Stephen Quinn about government concerns.

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