Shawnigan community drafts guidelines for lake use

“What we’re trying to do is find some common ground,” Shawnigan Residents Association.

An initiative by the Shawnigan Residents Association, CVRD, RCMP, and community partners has resulted in a set of suggested rules for users of the Shawnigan Lake.

SRA president Calvin Cook explained that with the plethora of different user groups on the lake, it seemed fitting to devise a plan to keep everyone happy as much as possible.

From sunbathers on the beach and private docks, to swimmers and paddleboarders, water skiers and jet skiers, there’s plenty of activity on the lake and that quite often means people jockeying for prime positions.

“What we’re trying to do is find some common ground,” Cook explained. “Its just a way that we could maybe address some of the concerns in a respectful way without coming down with hard and fast rules.”

He noted a lot of times transient boaters use the lake and they may not be aware of the rules.

For example, one thing Cook noted is that specially designed boats designed to create large wakes, whether it be for wake-boarding or surfing often frequent the lake.

“What we’ve asked is those boats conduct those activities in the centre of the lake so it allows the wake to dissipate before hitting the shoreline causing shoreline damage or before hitting homeowners’ docks causing further damage there,” he said.

In other jurisdictions if the issues haven’t been ironed out, people have gotten really upset “and then those activities end up being banned or it ends up with conflicts on the lakes,” Cook said.

“Obviously there is no ideal solution for any party but this was a bit of a compromise and what it really involved was everybody in the community — the different user groups coming together and saying well, what is a compromise, what can we live with and that’s what the map represents. It’s nothing hard and fast but it’s just an awareness that if you’re going to conduct these activities please respect other boaters, other lake users, and conduct those activities where they will do the least amount of damage and cause the least amount of aggravation.”

The ultimate goal is less damage and more of a good time for all.

“It’s early,” he said. “But what I’ve learned is that the more people who can enjoy the lake, who love the lake, who feel ownership of it, who feel pride in it, that’s the people who are willing to step up and protect the lake. In my opinion we don’t want to alienate anybody.”

sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com