Intimidation

I love the pier on Kal Beach. Winter or summer, I stroll along it. I often paddle by it on summer evenings. During the summer months, it’s sometimes heaving with humanity and yes, I sometimes see kids being kids.

I have never felt intimidated by kids or young adults on the pier. If they are engaging in illegal activities, they are, for the most part, hiding it quite well.

I do, however, sometimes feel intimidated by other boat users when I am in my kayak. If you have ever taken to the water in a motorless craft during the summer months, you will know what I mean. Dangerous speeds close inshore, alcohol, lack of spotters when wake boarding, loud music and motors which would make calls for help difficult to hear. Thankfully, most of the time, powerboat users are very considerate, but from time to time laws are being broken and poor examples being set by adults who should know better.

How about illegal fences and docks that restrict our right to walk the beaches? Laws are being broken by adults who probably don’t want to be reminded of their obligations but also should know better. Signs proclaiming “their” beach is private, are, I imagine, supposed to be intimidating.

If we are going to get tough on illegal activities, we should not just go after one segment of the population, our youth. The law should be applied equally to all.

Perhaps the best approach for now should be one of reason and education. There are a lot of conflicting interests at play and we need to consider the needs of others. Our young people need places to go and things to do, and above all, role models.

Waterfront homeowners need to respect the public’s right to access the beach below the high water mark and the public needs to respect home owners’ rights to privacy. Walking the beach should be no different from walking a sidewalk in a residential street.

Powerboat owners should give unpowered craft plenty of space and unpowered craft users should accept powerboats also have a right to the water and that certain times of day are best avoided for a stress-free paddle.

Hopefully, we can all get along, without resorting punitive law enforcement — a costly matter for all of us and never a real solution.

David Skelhon

Coldstream