The south wharf located on the far side of Swan Lake, just below the Lochside Trail and the Galloping Goose, has been closed while its viability and safety is assessed. (Photo by Joanne Fleming)

The south wharf located on the far side of Swan Lake, just below the Lochside Trail and the Galloping Goose, has been closed while its viability and safety is assessed. (Photo by Joanne Fleming)

South wharf at Swan Lake closed indefinitely

Staff frustrated with furniture being left behind

The south wharf at Swan Lake located on the far side of the lake, just below the Lochside Trail and the Galloping Goose, has been closed while its viability and safety is assessed.

A plan to consult the community is being considered to aid the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary’s ecosystems and facilities committee with their decision to repair or replace the wharf and explore other options for the area. The trails surrounding the lake, the newly renovated floating boardwalk and the Founders Wharf, located below the Nature House, will remain open for the duration of the closure.

READ ALSO: Saanich’s Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary steps up dog enforcement

A structural safety assessment to determine what lies underneath of the wharf will be the next step, in order to understand whether or not the wharf’s foundation will need to be replaced — which would come with a significant price tag — or if a simple repair is all that’s needed.

Kathleen Burton, executive director, says that while the area is a popular place for the public to take in a sunset, bird watch or just enjoy a tranquil moment, staff and volunteers are getting frustrated with the empty bottles and cans that are left floating by the wharf after a night of drinking and partying on the platform.

READ ALSO: New boardwalk floating across Saanich’s Swan Lake re-opens Friday

“The wharf is a favourite place for taggers to paint graffiti; for partiers to toss their empty beer cans and chip bags; not to mention furniture,” said Burton in a statement. In her four years working at the sanctuary, staff and volunteers have had to remove five chairs from the area. “Not just lawn chairs that someone was too drunk to take back home … some people have gone to great efforts to drag a recliner or a love seat down to the wharf so they could watch the sunset in comfort while sipping on cans of Lucky.”

According to Burton, not only is abandoned furniture upsetting for staff, volunteers and visitors, the impact on the ecosystem surrounding the wharf is not good. “This thoughtless, careless and reckless behaviour not only takes staff and volunteers away from spending time tending to the gardens and removing invasive species, it also means additional costs and impacts to the budget,” reads the statement.

The sanctuary then becomes responsible for the dumping fees, gas to transport left-behind furniture and the ‘wear and tear on the backs of people having to remove the bulky furniture.’

Burton says she expects the wharf to have aged beyond repair since it was made of wood in the 1990s and has been weathered by forces of nature. “I suspect … the wharf will likely have reached the end of its life.”



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

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South wharf at Swan Lake closed indefinitely