The B.C. ministry responsible for provincial campgrounds is apologizing after an error in BC Parks' online reservation system allowed 800 bookings for campers who only wanted to stay for part of a long weekend, contrary to its own policy.
The province's policy for long weekend campsite reservations requires visitors to book for a minimum of three days.
However, the error in BC Parks' system, which allowed some people to partially book the long weekend, resulted in frustration for people who were trying to book other unreserved dates during the same time period.
B.C. residents can book campsites in provincial parks two months in advance of their arrival date.
Dustin Brisebois, 42, lives in New Westminster and wanted to take his family camping over the August long weekend in Parksville or near Squamish, but he was unable to make a reservation using the BC Parks website.
"We noticed there were a number of spaces available to book," said Brisebois, who was looking forward to spending time outdoors after spending months under COVID-19 restrictions.
His hopes were shattered seconds later.
"[I] could not grab the open spots that were available. The system would just error out, wouldn't provide an explanation as to what was happening, and it almost seemed as if there was a problem with the server, the site itself," explained Brisebois.
People have taken to social media to post their frustrations with the system.
Ministry says sorry
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy explained that approximately 800 bookings were made last week allowing partial stays over the busy August long weekend, which are contrary to its own policy.
"We apologize for this error and any inconvenience it has created. BC Parks commits to ensuring systems errors such as this are addressed rapidly, and mitigated to the fullest extent possible," the ministry said in a statement.
That issue has now been corrected, but the ministry says all bookings will be honoured.
Brisebois is still looking for a campsite.
"Potentially, campsites are half empty over a long weekend if half the users do not stay the entire long weekend 'cause they started too early," said Brisebois.
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy is warning people that "due to the overwhelming desire on the part of British Columbians to get out camping, BC Parks does not anticipate reservation availability for the August long weekend at this time."