A number of property owners with riverside homes along the Cowichan River are raising concerns about the growth of tubing on the water. Pictured, from left, are Joe Saysell, Rosemary Danaher, and Chris Morley. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

A number of property owners with riverside homes along the Cowichan River are raising concerns about the growth of tubing on the water. Pictured, from left, are Joe Saysell, Rosemary Danaher, and Chris Morley. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Editorial: Tubers must behave like guests in someone’s yard

Riverfront property owners shouldn’t have to clean up after hooligans

Remember, you’re in someone else’s backyard.

We weren’t entirely surprised to hear from riverfront residents recently that they are having a problem with rowdy tubers on the Cowichan River.

We also weren’t entirely surprised when they told us that last summer was the worst year for it that they could remember. The summer of 2020 was sort of the eye of the pandemic storm, if you’ll recall, when COVID numbers declined enough for people to get out and about and enjoy some fun in the sun. Due to travel restrictions and recommendations, Cowichan Lake and the surrounding area were busier than ever, and that included tubers flooding in to take to the waterway. No doubt high on a sense of freedom that can only come after being stuck in relative isolation for months, we were unsurprised to hear that some were not on their best behaviour. But that certainly doesn’t excuse people for behaving like hooligans.

What’s more, according to riverfront residents, they seem to have transferred at least some of their cabin fever enthusiasm into bad behaviours on the Cowichan River in 2021.

So what’s the big deal? Some noise of people having a good time isn’t the worst thing in the world, surely? No it’s not, but having someone defecate on your front lawn, and hurl drunken invective at you when you object is more than anyone should have to put up with. Nor should they have to try to daily clean the trash and aforementioned feces off their properties. Heaven forbid someone be stupid enough to try to start a fire in our tinder-dry conditions.

We’re not sure how this problem gets fixed, without people taking personal responsibility and agreeing to behave like decent human beings. We certainly don’t want to be forced to have RCMP officers wading into the river, as they’ve had to do in the past when things have gotten especially bad. But maybe that’s what it’s going to take.

Of course, the good tubers outnumber the bad. The Tube Shack in Lake Cowichan does its part to try to make sure those taking to the river don’t abuse the privilege, as keeping thing family-friendly is key to their success. But there’s only so much they can do. We suspect most of the offenders are bringing their own tubes and accessing the river independently. If riverfront property owners can apply a little peer pressure and shame the bad apples into moderating their behaviour through publicly calling them out, we’re happy to help them.

Behave on and by the river as if you’re in your own backyard. Because you’re guests in someone else’s.

Editorials