EDITORIAL: Make summer a fun time for all

Use a little common sense and courtesy when out using public amenities

Summer burst into its full glory this week on the West Shore. Time to fire up the barbecue, head to the beach and enjoy the sun.

However, without becoming a total buzz kill, here are a couple of points that seem to need repeating every year.

First: Be careful out there.

Our beaches along the Colwood and Metchosin coastlines, and popular lakes like Thetis, Langford, Matheson and Glen Lake, are inviting on hot days, but are also potentially deadly. Undertows and large waves on the ocean, and underwater snags and inattention to water depth in lakes can bring tragic results, as can spending too much time in the direct hot sun.

It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway, that alcohol and the water simply do not mix. Not only is it unsafe, it’s illegal.

The summer sun is great, but remember it can also can be a killer. Don’t leave your pet in a vehicle for any reason, for any length of time. An open window and a bowl of water won’t help an animal trapped in a hot car.

Remember, too, that the sun we miss so much during the winter rains packs a wicked punch. Recent reports indicate that instances of skin cancer remain high, despite years of warnings. So if you’re going outside, even if the clouds creep in, slather on the sunscreen.

Second: Be respectful.

The simple rule – you pack it in, you pack it out – seems lost on far too many people. Enjoy that early morning coffee by the lake, but don’t leave the empty cup on the bench for someone else to dispose of.

Gathering up all your garbage and leaving it in a green garbage bag by trash can for later pickup is a nice thought.

And speaking of which: if it’s your dog, what’s left behind is your responsibility. Our area has some spectacular parks and walking trails; they’re not made better studded by dog feces.

The West Shore is a great place to be in the summertime. Following a couple of simple rules can make it even better.