The Tube Shack in Lake Cowichan is still waiting for the prolonged sun this year. (File photo)

The Tube Shack in Lake Cowichan is still waiting for the prolonged sun this year. (File photo)

After a slow start, Cowichan Tube Shack hopes warmer weather will bring visitors

The tubing rental company owner estimates 75 per cent less business than last year

The cool start to this summer made a problem for Cowichan’s tube rental company: few people are visiting even though the Tube Shack has the capacity for large crowds.

“When the heat does hit, we are ready for everybody to come up here,” owner Aaron Frisby said.

Frisby said there is a huge increase in customers on sunny days, including weekdays, but overall business declined about 75 per cent from the boom during this time last year.

The cold and wet start to the summer killed some of the buzz around tubing, even though water levels are back to normal now.

During the first couple weeks of the season, the river had significantly higher waters than usual which completely covered the departure beach, Frisby said.

“The beach that we pull out customers at did not exist,” he said.

In a June 24 statement, Lake Cowichan fire chief Doug Knott said people who planned to tube that weekend should be aware of hypothermia because the water was cooler than usual. Frisby said he understands why they put the warning out, but wishes more people knew that water temperatures are back to normal now.

“It did not help when we had the local fire chief say people could get hypothermia if they were in the water too long.”

Last year, a combination of the heat wave and pandemic encouraged people to explore local waters, he said.

The Tube Shack expanded to a second location on North Shore Road last year because there were so many customers, but Frisby said that decision backfired this summer.

“We’re not seeing good numbers at all up here,” he said. “When the sun is out the demand is there for it, but it is just when we get the sun out.”

Frisby wants to keep his young staff members working and most businesses around town are struggling with the lack of river tourism, he added. The bottom line is the Tube Shack is ready to provide tube rentals to any crowds that come as the weather warms up, he said.

Lake Cowichan