Fisheries Officer Willi Jansen spoke about the role of fisheries in helping preserve Cowichan Lake.

Fisheries Officer Willi Jansen spoke about the role of fisheries in helping preserve Cowichan Lake.

Cowichan Lake Matters public meeting

An increased budget will allow more RCMP officers on the lake during the summer.

Cowichan Lake Matters, a public meeting organized by the Town of Lake Cowichan, Ts’uubaa-asatx First Nation and the Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society drew forty residents to the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena, where officials addressed the issues and answered questions regarding the health of Cowichan Lake.

Topics included safety concerns regarding sewage, boaters, noise concerns, “night riders” partying on the lake at night, alcohol consumption by tubers and the need for more communication between local RCMP and residents regarding related arrests and other actions. RCMP constable Andrew Burn issued a “call to action” to residents, asking them to call the RCMP and take photos of unacceptable behaviour on the lake and river. Burns said that such complaints will be kept on file if police are unable to act immediately.

On a brighter note, Burn and CVRD Area F director Ian Morrison announced that two additional officers would be available to patrol the lake in boats during the summer thanks to a recent budget increase. An RCMP boat will also be stationed in Youbou in hopes that it will decrease the response time for calls to the west end of the lake.

Diana Gunderson, representing the Cowichan Lake Stewardship Society, said the group is hoping to have extra signage erected at the area’s boat launches which, along with volunteers, will work to provide information to the town’s visitors.

Other speakers at the meeting included Jessica Lines from BC Parks, fisheries officer Willi Jansen, Honeymoon Bay Fire Department chief Keith Bird and CVRD building inspector/bylaw officer Brian Duncan.

After the meeting, residents filled out an exit survey and were able to speak one-on-one with some of the speakers for a chance to gain more information regarding the lake.