EDITORIAL: Victoria must fund boat patrols

Provincial government is downloading lake enforcement on to local taxpayers

There was enhanced enforcement on North Okanagan waterways this summer thanks to local taxpayers.

Once again, the five electoral area directors, along with new partner Coldstream, contracted the B.C. Conservation Officer Service to patrol Sugar, Mabel, Mara and Kalamalka lakes, as well as the Shuswap River.

And the program is proving successful as safety concerns are being addressed.

“There were wild west shows, including on Sugar Lake, and now people understand the responsibilities (with boating),” said director Rick Fairbairn.

Boats are being pulled off of lakes because they are in poor condition while officers are ensuring boaters have gone through operator training and have the required safety equipment. As the lakes become busier with boaters, kayaks, paddlers and swimmers, enhanced enforcement is absolutely vital.

However, one has to wonder why local taxpayers in the five electoral areas and Coldstream are picking up the tab for enhanced boat patrols? Once again, this is just another form of downloading from the provincial government.

In the end, the lakes and the river are provincial resources and the government makes considerable money off of various licence fees related to boating and fishing.

It’s time for the Ministry of Environment to step up to the plate and provide the required resources and fulfill its mandate, and with voters heading to the polls in May, perhaps this will become an election issue.