Vandals took to Oak Bay’s Windsor Park in a vehicle causing major field damage discovered Jan. 6. (Photo by Jim Beatty)

Vandals took to Oak Bay’s Windsor Park in a vehicle causing major field damage discovered Jan. 6. (Photo by Jim Beatty)

Drivers damage popular Oak Bay parks doing doughnuts in saturated soil

Ruts at Windsor, Willows won’t heal until spring

Oak Bay resident Jim Beatty lives near Windsor Park and was disappointed to find tire tracks in the snow on the fields for a third time this winter. He and neighbours recall seeing tire marks on the fields two consecutive days during the snowfall of late 2021.

“The city parks people work so hard on that park to maintain it in a pristine condition,” he said.

Jan. 6 dawned with Windsor Park and Willows Beach Park grassy spaces rutted by drivers, likely drawn by the feel of tires in snow on soft, slick ground.

“When the soil is so saturated, that damage is instant and considerable,” District of Oak Bay parks manager Chris Hyde-Lay said.

The damage at Windsor could cost in the range of $2,000 to repair, alongside other considerations such as the impact on user groups, a sentiment Beatty shares.

READ ALSO: Heavy snowfall closes schools, cancels flights, transit, ferry service across Greater Victoria

During mild weather – less during COVID restrictions – the park is heavily used by rugby, cricket and soccer groups as well as families and dog walkers.

While crews can add soil and grass seed, the ruts caused in winter will likely remain until spring.

This form of vandalism is a rarity, Hyde-Lay said, but parks staff hope residents will call police or note a licence plate should they see a driver in action.

Nature took its toll on the community at large overnight as well, as a significant winter storm blanketed the region with heavy snow. According to early data from Environment and Climate Change Canada, the most snow fell near the Victoria International Airport in North Saanich at around 28 cm. The Victoria area varied from 15 to 24 cm.

The heavy snow left Oak Bay crews cutting and clearing Thursday morning. By noon, fallen trees had been cleared from King George Terrace, Milton Street and Cedar Hill Cross Road, along with myriad branches all across the community.

READ ALSO: How to handle recycling as wild weather hampers blue box pickup in Greater Victoria


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