Editorial: Time for Cowichan Lake user guidelines?

Editorial: Time for Cowichan Lake user guidelines?

The Shawnigan Lake community has drafted guidelines for people using the lake

Is it an idea whose time has come?

The Shawnigan Lake community has drafted guidelines for people using the lake, to try to ensure that more people have a good time and there’s less conflict between people using the water and shore for different reasons and in different ways.

Those around Cowichan Lake face some of the same issues, including large numbers of people from outside of the immediate area who come to the lake to enjoy what it has to offer, including swimming, floating, fishing, motorized boat use and non-motorized boat use. Some come just to sit on the shore and enjoy the lake view, or the sun. All of these users deserve to have a first-class experience.

After all, this is what will keep people coming back to the community.

But all it takes are a few yahoos who think they own the lake to spoil it for everyone. Often issues with those in motorized boats, or being towed behind motorized boats coming into conflict with other users are the most urgent. We bet some may not even know they are not being courteous to other lake users, or those who live around the lake.

Of interest in the “10 Things to Know about Boating on Shawnigan Lake” list are the 8 kilometres per hour maximum speed limit when boating 30 metres from the shoreline and 60 kph limit beyond 30 metres from the shoreline; that the right-of-way always belongs to the non-powered watercraft and swimmers; and that operators are responsible for any damage their boat wash or wake causes to the shoreline.

There’s also the matter of washing your boat before launching it in a new body of water. The Shawnigan guidelines emphasize the importance of this, stating that invasive milfoil is present in that lake and it can be transferred if users aren’t careful.

If it seems there’s an overemphasis on what those in powered watercraft should and shouldn’t do, it’s because this group of users are in the most powerful devices out there, with potentially the most dire consequences if there’s a clash. These craft come with a high degree of responsibility.

It’s all about safety and making sure that all users feel welcome.