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District of North Van backs rolling Quarry Rock closures

Parking regs, park rangers to thin Deep Cove crowds
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Deep Cove residents may find a little space in the crowd this summer.

District of North Vancouver council voted unanimously to enact more stringent parking regulations and allow temporary closures of Quarry Rock to control overcrowding at an April 16 meeting.

Situated between forest and fjord on the eastern end of the district, Deep Cove has been taxed by the “record setting tourism” of 2017, according to a district staff report.

Quarry Rock has been the primary engine of that change, as approximately 45 per cent of Deep Cove visitors are bound for a hiking trail. To remedy that situation, park rangers will be able to close Quarry Rock this summer, ensuring there are only 70 sets of hiking boots on the rock itself at any one time.

A large crowd of stymied and slightly inebriated hikers could create a problem very quickly, warned Coun. Doug MacKay-Dunn.

“What support will our park ranger have (when) he’s standing like Horatius at the drawbridge, trying to prevent an onslaught of these individuals going up to Quarry Rock?” he asked, invoking the tale the Roman officer who defended his republic against invading Etruscan forces.

Social media may offer a solution, according to Coun. Mathew Bond, who suggested a Quarry Rock Instagram account could update trail closures in real time.

Closures will be at the discretion of park rangers who will be able to consult with police, firefighters and North Shore Rescue, according to district staff.

Safety has been a concern around Quarry Rock, as district firefighters were forced to manoeuvre past traffic bottlenecks 30 times in the summer of 2017 to respond to injuries and emergencies on the trail.

To help thin out summer Cove crowds, the district is also slated to institute resident only parking between the 2200 and 2500 blocks of Caledonia Avenue and to enact a three-hour time limit in the 74 parking spots in the Panorama South and Rockcliff Road lots.

To ensure those regulations are obeyed, the district plans to dispatch two bike patrol bylaw officers during peak times and to dispatch extra park rangers to support those bylaw officers. The district also plans to station two traffic controllers at Mt. Seymour Parkway and Deep Cove Road to handle big vehicles and buses, which will need a permit to access Lynn Canyon and Deep Cove beginning May 18.

Excepting summer camps and school field trips, large commercial tour buses will not be granted permits. However, transit buses will be exempt from the new regulations.

The district plans to hand out $500 fines for drivers who break the new rules.

The approximately four-month plan is slated to cost the district between $80,000 and $90,000.

Given those costs, the district should be “a little more aggressive” in recovering some cash from parking charges, according to Coun. Robin Hicks.

MacKay-Dunn agreed, suggesting tow trucks be deployed for drivers who flaunt district regulations.

“We’ve had a soft approach long enough. Now’s the time to say, ‘No, there’s no more room at the inn.’”

While these measures may make a difference in 2018, Coun. Lisa Muri suggested the initiative would remain a work in progress in terms of resident-only parking and maintaining customer parking for Deep Cove businesses.

“We’re all going to have to be patient,” she said.

The April 16 meeting followed a March presentation from Deep Cove residents and merchants who complained the neighbourhood’s charm was dwindling as visitors have had increasingly unpleasant experiences in recent years.

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