A worried Glendenning Road resident is politely confronting Mount Douglas Park users who are blatantly disregarding no-parking signs on her street.
Traditionally, Glendenning has been an easy-to-get-to, lesser-known access to the trails of Mount Doug that regular park visitors swear by. However, the increase in demand and lack of parking (Saanich provides a small lot for about five or six cars), has had a domino effect since Saanich installed no-parking signs on both sides of Glendenning last year. All parking is banned within approximately the first 200 metres of the Mount Doug entrance, yet the area fills up each morning, and then again throughout the day.
“The risk of fire is so high this summer, not just for Mount Doug but for the [rural] houses on Glendenning. What if the fire department can’t get in here?” said Mary Durham, who is actively educating visitors by placing notices on cars.
Her notices indicate there is ample parking, all of it legal, on nearby Winchester Road. However, parking there demands an additional walk of a few hundred metres along a connecting bike trail, which many visitors are unwilling to do, she says.
Gary Darrah, Saanich manager of parks planning and design, said the no-parking signs were installed as the result of a combination of issues, with access to fire engines certainly at the forefront.
“It looks like the road is wide but the [former] parking along the sides is actually damaging to a trail [on the west side of Glendenning], the boulevard and to tree [roots], as well as the fire access issue,” he said.
Saanich Fire Captain Rich Pala said the fire department was seeking better access to Mount Doug, part of an initiative to ensure better access to all parks, when a representative visited the Glendenning entrance with Saanich Parks last year.
Fire engines called to the street and park entrance have to back out of Glendenning, Durham said. Worse, she’s also seen cars block the entrance to the fire lane.
She even finds cigarette butts on the trail inside the park.
“I think it’s habit, people have been coming here for a long time and they’re unwilling to part with the idea that they can park here,” Durham said. “The prevailing attitude seems to be, what’s the use of having a park if there’s no parking, and it’s a ripple effect. Once one person parks here, they all do. People need to think of it as a community effort, not something to do just because Saanich says.”