Truck gets stuck in mud while cutting through Beacon Hill Park, fined $600

The driver of a pickup festooned with Canadian flags and carrying a snowmobile in the back didn’t get far when he tried to outsmart Victoria police on the weekend.

The driver of a pickup festooned with Canadian flags and carrying a snowmobile in the back didn’t get far when he tried to outsmart Victoria police on the weekend.

He drove up to a police checkpoint at Dallas Road and Cook Street — one of several designed to control entry into the legislature precinct and James Bay — on Saturday and was told by an officer he couldn’t drive through.

“The officer had actually interacted with this person at a previous protest,” said Victoria police spokesman Bowen Osoko. “So when the officer asked the person if they lived in James Bay and the person said yes, the officer knew that may not be accurate.”

The driver was invited to park and walk to his destination.

He headed off, but obviously decided to try to get around the blocked area with a shortcut through Beacon Hill Park. Police soon received a call that the truck had become stuck in the mud off Camas Circle.

It turns out the driver had received a notice in Victoria the previous week of an unspecified defect on the truck. Since it hadn’t been fixed yet, the driver received $600 in fines.

“The license plates are seized and the vehicle is towed and impounded,” Osoko said.

As for the snowmobile, it was “not great for navigating Beacon Hill Park,” he said. “Not a lot of snowmobiling there.”

Osoko said there were traffic delays of up to 45 minutes around the checkpoints, which remained in effect Monday, but people were “really patient.” There were also checkpoints at Douglas and Belleville streets, Douglas and Superior streets and Wharf and Government streets.

Waits at checkpoints Monday were no more than about five minutes into the afternoon, he said. BC Transit issued an alert about slight delays for buses around the legislature and James Bay.

Osoko said police have been noticing a number of out-of-province plates over the past few days.

He said the goal of the checkpoints is strictly to control vehicle access — officers questioned drivers to ensure those headed to local homes, businesses or churches, for example, could get through

He said James Bay will continue to be limited to local-vehicle access for the “near future,” noting police had heard another convoy of protesters might be arriving Monday.

“And if they do, they’re welcome to park — there’s public and private lots all through Victoria,” Osoko said. “People can come down on foot, by bike, by transit, wave flags. On Saturday, they had a march that wasn’t an issue.

“So obviously they were still able to get together, still have their event, make their voices heard.”

Ron Clark, an Alberta resident who was at Saturday’s rally, said on Facebook that the police checkpoints turned things into a “gong show,” and there is talk of next weekend’s rally starting in Victoria and heading to Campbell River — a reversal of what has been happening for the last month.

“So we’re just working on some details and stuff of where we can go,” said Clark, who said he is camping south of Duncan.

Whether or not the rally is on the legislature grounds doesn’t matter, he said, calling the grounds “just a lawn that everybody meets on.” “There’s nobody working in the office anyway.

“If we wanted to we could do these rallies in the middle of a forest, it doesn’t really matter.”

Osoko said there were some reports of vehicles swerving between lanes on the highway to slow down traffic as the convoy made its way to Victoria on Saturday. Anyone who saw that happening is advised to call the police detachment in the area where it took place, he said.

On the Lower Mainland, Surrey RCMP set up a checkpoint on the way to the Pacific Highway border crossing after a group of people protesting COVID-19 health rules arrived in the region over the weekend.

James Bauder, one of the leaders of the Ottawa occupation in January and February, arrived in Surrey on Sunday night, along with a group of supporters, and announced on Facebook their intention to protest at the border, along with at local media outlets, including Global and CBC.

They said they have a camp in Metro Vancouver but will only reveal the location to registered convoy-protest participants.

jbell@timescolonist.com

– With files from Vancouver Is Awesome

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