A Cowichan Valley woman was upset to see extensive vandalism at a popular park in the Malahat area earlier this month.
Linda Mills went for her regular walk around Spectacle Lake on Sunday, Feb. 7, then strolled down to the beach to see if she could spot the resident eagle. She first realized something was wrong when she had to duck under a tree on her way to the beach.
The tree had been cut by a chainsaw. Then she noticed similar damage to a picnic table and smashed Corona beer bottles, and two separate fire pits on the beach. The vandals had also shot BBs at a sign warning park visitors to stay off the thin ice on the lake.
While Mills was unhappy to see any of the damage, the broken bottles bothered her the most.
“The glass is my concern,” she said. “So many people take their kids and dogs down there.”
During a time when so many folks are seeking solace in nature, Mills hates to see special outdoor places targeted by vandals.
“The last thing you want in a pandemic is a place where people go to find calm and peace to be sabotaged like that,” she said.
Mills said she reported the damage to the Cowichan Valley Regional District, which operates Spectacle Lake Park. While she didn’t hear back from them directly, the CVRD acknowledged that it was aware of the incident.
“There was some damage reported to our park ranger on Monday evening, and appears that there was a beach fire and damage done to a picnic table,” CVRD spokesperson Kris Schumacher said in an email to the Citizen. “Cleanup and repair is currently underway.”
According to the CVRD website, Spectacle Lake Provincial Park is managed through the CVRD’s Regional Parks program. The spring-fed lake is popular for hiking and fishing. Swimming is allowed, and there are picnic and toilet facilities.
“The property was the site of a sawmill that operated in the 1920s and 1930s,” the website explains. “The present lake was in fact the millpond for the sawmill, which was built on the rocky outcrop adjacent to the main swimming beach today. The beach and lake bottom are composed largely of sawdust from the mill operation. Sand was brought in the later years to create the beach.”