Editorial: Watercraft towing tubers up Cowichan River an absurd idea

Why is this a bad idea? Where to even begin?

The company that has floated the idea of towing tubers back up the river using motorized watercraft hasn’t thought the idea through. At all.

Why is this a bad idea? Where to even begin?

Tubing on the Cowichan River in the summer is a popular pastime both with locals and the many tourists that flock to the Cowichan Lake area. On hot days it’s not uncommon to see the river packed with tubes, as people float lazily down the easy part of the waterway.

And when we say packed, we mean packed. Which brings us to the first reason that adding motorized watercraft to the mix is a terrible idea. The river is simply too busy to accommodate something like a jet ski. The river is not that wide, and tubers often take up all of it. Not only is there not the space, the watercraft would be going against the current, both of the river and the multitudes floating down it. It’s a recipe for disaster.

In such circumstances, the question of a serious, even deadly collision becomes a matter of when, not if. We can also foresee tubers getting into angry arguments with those on motorized watercraft as they jockey for space. The threat of physical violence in such circumstance is real.

There is also the question of the added noise of these vehicles on the waterways. Those living beside the river sometimes already have problems with tubers trespassing, leaving garbage and relieving themselves on their properties. Adding the racket of motorized vehicles within the confines of the riverway to all of these inconveniences is beyond unfair. Tubers can be considerate. Motorized craft cannot be quiet.

Local fish experts are also sounding the alarm over what the watercraft could do to the vital salmon spawning beds in the Cowichan River. The chance of severe damage and destruction is extremely high. Salmon are an important resource. They provide food and recreation, and are an important part of the culture of our local First Nations. They are key to the entire ecosystem of the area — from the forests to the animals that live in them and on out to sea.

The idea that we would allow the salmon to be endangered so that people could get a tow up the river is so ridiculous as to be absurd.

While it may not be an ideal solution to have cars or shuttles waiting for people where they take their tubes out of the water, the idea of towing them back up the river with a motorized watercraft is not a viable alternative. This part of the business plan needs to be rethought.

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