No lifeguards coming to Thetis Lake

One of Victoria’s most popular lakes will not see lifeguards on duty next year, despite multiple near-drownings in 2017.

A number of incidents at Thetis Lake this past summer has renewed the call for better supervision at the popular park, but don’t expect to see lifeguards on duty anytime soon.

The Capital Regional District yesterday voted against the measure, instead choosing to focus on providing better signage in the park and more information on safe swimming practices on the CRD website.

A staff report listed five drownings at Thetis Lake since 1999, in addition to three other serious incidents — including two this year.

RELATED: Woman in serious condition after near drowning at Thetis Lake

RELATED: Two boys saved after near drowning at Thetis Lake

Lifeguard services were provided between 1970 to 1990 when the park was operated by the City of Victoria, but that was cancelled in 1991.

Services again resumed between 1994 and 2002 but haven’t been available in 15 years. At the time, the Regional Parks Committee chose to discontinue lifeguard services due to lack of budget, challenges with recruiting qualified lifeguards and a trend towards removing these services in other municipalities.

CRD Chair Barb Desjardins supported the motion as many of the recent incidents did not occur near the main beach area, much to the dismay of View Royal Mayor David Screech — the only member voting against the motion.

RELATED: Editorial – CRD needs to take close look at lifeguards at Thetis Lake

“I want to make it clear, we weren’t asking for lifeguards in the different areas, we were asking for the main beach, and our council thinks it’s still important to do that,” said Screech.

“And there have been drownings within metres of the main beach, because of the drop off and they were ESL (English as a second language) students who can’t read the signs, but… there are problems in that park.”

He also points to the amount of underage drinking that occurs during the summer months and cliff jumping incidents that have been alcohol related.

The lack of proficiency in English remains another important factor as the staff report goes on to say three of the five people who drowned at Thetis Lake since 1999 — and all four of the serious incidents in 2014 and 2017 — were international visitors with limited knowledge of the English language.

The CRD estimates it would cost $70,000 annually to provide lifeguard services at Thetis Lake.


 

@ragnarhaagen
ragnar.haagen@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Power expected to be out for hours in Mayfair Drive area

Residents of the 1900 block of Mayfair Drive are without power after… Continue reading

Plastic bags to be banned in Saanich by June 2020

Council approved the timeline that clears a path for Saanich to follow Victoria’s ban of single-use plastic bags

Final push to fund new ultrasounds at Victoria hospitals

Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s Beneath the Surface campaign nears goal of $500,000

Lower Mainland activists to hold anti-SOGI rally at B.C. legislature

Online resource designed to incorporate diversity is a ‘totalitarian assault on the minds of our children,’ activists say

Rainbow crosswalk, safer places for LGBTQ people in Sidney

A rainbow crosswalk is coming to Sidney near Beacon Park. The crosswalk… Continue reading

‘Fire tornado’ erupts as firefighters battle interior B.C. wildfire

Firefighters near Vanderhoof were taken by surprise

Syrian family can, finally, feel safe after settling in B.C.

Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity White Rock meets sponsored family for the first time

1st private moon flight passenger to invite creative guests

The Big Falcon Rocket is scheduled to make the trip in 2023, SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced at an event Monday at its headquarters near Los Angeles.

‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Mrs. Maisel’ triumph at Emmys

In a ceremony that started out congratulating TV academy voters for the most historically diverse field of nominees yet, the early awards all went solely to whites.

Korean leaders meet in Pyongyang for potentially tough talks

South Korean President Moon Jae-in began his third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday.

Russia blames Israel for plane shot down by Syrian missile

A Russian reconnaissance aircraft was brought down over the Mediterranean Sea as it was returning to its home base inside Syria, killing all 15 people on board.

Vancouver park board passes motion to learn Indigenous place names

The name of Vancouver’s Stanley Park is now up for debate as the city’s park board confronts its colonial past and pursues reconciliation.

Champ golfer from Spain killed in Iowa; suspect charged

Police said Celia Barquin Arozamena was found dead Monday morning at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, about 30 miles north of Des Moines.

Abdelrazik torture lawsuit delay would be unconscionable: lawyer

The federal government is making a last-minute plea to delay the Federal Court hearing

Most Read