Trucks damage Beacon Hill Park Meadows 2003

By Janis Ringuette

For decades, park staff and contractors have routinely driven heavy trucks and other vehicles across meadows in Beacon Hill Park. This compacts the soil and damages native plants. Though damage is worse in wet weather, compaction of the soil from heavy vehicles occurs in all seasons. To protect heritage landscapes, the Parks Department must set firm guidelines and train employees not to drive equipment on meadows. Outside contractors must be directly supervised in the Park so they do not damage vulnerable ecosystems, either.

This article documents severe and permanent truck damage in two areas of the park in 2003. Though this information was referenced in the consultant report commissioned by the City of Victoria titled Beacon Hill Park Heritage Landscape Management Plan in 2004 and the authors of the report called for improved protection procedures for heritage landscapes, damage from vehicles and machinery has continued. [See article titled "Trail Construction Damage in Beacon Hill Park 2008."]

Damage Incident #1:

A heavy gravel truck drove across the meadow from Arbutus Way up the hill to reach the northwest ridge trail on October 17, 2003.

Rain had deluged the area for the previous two days, softening the soil. The truck wheels dug foot deep ruts in the camas meadow, destroying plants and compacting soil. During the following months, rain flowed down the ruts, increasing the damage.

Park staff claimed the damage would “repair itself.” A photo seven months later reveals it did not “repair itself.” Native plants grow on both sides of the damaged area; nothing grows in the old truck tracks.

[Truck damage photo taken Nov.19, 2003]                                ["Self repair" as of May 3,2004]

NW Ridge truck damage  NW Ridge permanent damage

Damage Incident #2:

A huge semi-trailer chip truck drove from Heywood Avenue across the meadow to the central playground in October, 2003.

A photo taken seven months later shows permanent ugly scars cutting through an otherwise beautiful camas meadow area. That damage did not “repair itself” either.

[Truck damage October, 2003 - photo taken Nov.19]                                ["Self repair" as of April 28, 2004]

Truck meadow damage  Damage still visible