Need for more boat launches has emerged as problem at Cowichan Lake

Boat congestion at local ramps already happening and it’s not even summer, councillors say

“We’re going to have a real problem this summer,” said Lake Cowichan Coun. Bob Day last week, echoing the concerns of his fellow councillors.

The worry: congestion (and tempers) at local boat ramps could escalate as more and more boaters want access to Cowichan Lake.

Mayor Ross Forrest kicked off the debate at the council committee session on June 6.

“There is quite a bit of concern out there about boat ramps. We should put that [officially] on an agenda to talk about accessibility,” he said.

Day agreed, saying he had taken his boat out the previous weekend, using the public boat launch on North Shore Road.

“I don’t mind waiting half an hour, but I had a hard time backing my trailer. It was so congested,” he said.

Forrest explained that some of the congestion was happening because the private marina on the other side of the lake “had chained off their area” because people had been using it without paying.

Lake Cowichan chief admininstrative officer Joe Fernandez suggested that maybe talks with the Lake Cowichan First Nation would be useful since they were looking for ways to increase their presence on North Shore Road.

Forrest said he was also concerned about congestion.

“It becomes a major safety issue. Maybe we should have talks with the marina owner about possible access. Summer hasn’t even started yet and there is a problem already.”

Day agreed, urging council to get on it as soon as possible.

Town treasurer Ronnie Gill pointed out people have come into the office saying they don’t want boats launching when they are swimming.”

She suggested placing “no swimming” signs near the boat launch.

Forrest said that should be considered but, “before we decide, it should all be looked at by staff. We should not just put a sign up. There are a lot of signs there already.”

Fernandez agreed.

“The more signs you put up, the less they read them,” he said.

Councillors will await a report before making any decisions on the matter.

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