Lake Cowichan RCMP are looking for help in identifying a man who reportedly displayed unusually reckless and inconsiderate behaviour while boating on the Cowichan Lake on Canada Day (July 1).
Campers at the Pine Point campground in Youbou reported seeing a man operating a boat approximately 400 feet off the campground shoreline on the north shore of the lake purposely swerve into several geese that were floating on the water. The boat struck and killed at least one goose. There were a number of witnesses to the disturbing incident, including several children, who reported that this was a deliberate action on the part of the boat operator.
The boat was described as a 21-foot bow rider Crownline boat, black and white in colour. The vessel operator was described as a Caucasian male in his 30s, and was accompanied by a female passenger described as Caucasian and wearing an orange bathing suit. Local RCMP are hoping that the boat, being a model not commonly seen on Cowichan Lake, will be easy for residents to identify.
While Sgt. Wes Olsen of the Lake Cowichan RCMP said they have asked residents to report to them if they see the boat, they haven’t received any calls yet.
RCMP officers were at the Pine Point campground following the incident, asking campers if they knew the identity of the man. Though officers believe that the man was visiting someone staying at the campground, no one admitted to knowing him.
In regards to charges, Olsen said that there would be several options.
“He would likely be charged with cruelty to animals and the careless operation of a boat,” Olsen said. “There is a fine associated with those charges and there could be a court date and a criminal conviction involved as well.”
Information on the incident can be directed to Cst. Bruce Coles at 250-749-6668 or through Crime Stoppers.
This incident comes just two months after local RCMP announced they would be increasing their presence on the lake during the summer months.
At a Cowichan Lake Matters public meeting in late April, RCMP Cst. Andrew Burn announced that thanks to a budget increase two additional officers would be available to patrol Cowichan Lake. The officers will be stationed in Youbou in hopes of decreasing response times for calls to the west end of the lake.
Burn also issued a “call to action” to residents at the meeting, asking them to call the RCMP and take photos of unacceptable behaviour taking place on the lake and river. He said that such complaints will be kept on file if police are unable to act immediately. Olsen added that patrols will be on the lake twice a week.
Olsen also urged residents and visitors to contact the local RCMP branch at 250-749-6668 if they are unclear on operating rules.
“I’d rather educate people now than sanction while I’m out on the lake,” he said.