The unsupervised docks at Chemainus Lake and Maple Bay will soon have life rings installed for public access, thanks mainly to a contribution from a local resident.
Laura Robertson has contributed approximately $1,800 towards two Guardian 600 model life rings, which are being provided by the Royal Life Saving Society through its Public Access Life Ring project.
Robertson’s son, 22-year-old Brayden Gale, drowned when the canoe he was in capsized on Chemainus Lake last November.
Gale and his best friend Liem Pham had just returned to the Cowichan Valley from living in Alberta where Pham had been working for Gale at his Edmonton-based landscaping company, and were spending a day fishing on Chemainus Lake when their canoe capsized.
Both tried to swim for shore, but only Pham made it, and would-be rescuers at the scene said at the time they believed they probably could have saved Gale if there was some life-saving equipment on site.
The cost of each life ring and the cabinet that it is stored in is $1,200, and the Chemainus Rotary Club has agreed to fund the $600 shortfall needed for one of the two life rings to be installed at Chemainus Lake.
A plaque with a photo of Gale will also be installed at Chemainus Lake dock as a remembrance, at the request of Robertson.
The Municipality of North Cowichan has agreed to cover the costs of installation and maintenance of the life rings.
“It’s a shame that a tragedy like this had to happen before life-saving equipment is finally being provided there,” said Coun. Kate Marsh.