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Speeding boats concern Burns Lake residents

Authorities can address boater behaviour
Boaters, swimmers, fishers, and other users share local lakes. Speeding boats have been a recent concern for safety and enjoyment at Burns Lake. (Black Press file photo)

When you’re called the Lakes District, there will certainly be boating going on. One of the two most populous lakes are Burns and Decker, connected by a narrow channel popular with recreationists of many descriptions.

Burns Lake Village councillor Darrell Hill addressed a concern with the town’s other councillors and staff that had been brought to his attention by local constituents. Some boats had been motoring in the narrows and under the Highway 35 bridge at unsafe rates of speed.

“That’s very dangerous in the channel, there, at high speeds,” agreed mayor Henry Wiebe.

Councillor Kristy Bjarnason remembered that Ts’il Kaz Koh First Nation had also communicated this concern in the past.

Chief administrative officer Sheryl Worthing noted that jurisdiction over these waterways rested with Transport Canada. The agency confirmed with the Lakes District News that there were speed rules for freshwater spaces, and both Transport Canada officials and RCMP were among those empowered to enforce them.

“Transport Canada works closely with local enforcement partners, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to promote safe boating practices near Burns Lake and Decker Lake,” said Sau Sau Liu, senior communications advisor for the federal body. “Under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, there are fines for careless operation. These charges are under summary convictions in the province of British Columbia. Complaints for these types of behaviours may be made to the local police service or to Transport Canada’s Pacific Region Office of Boating Safety by emailing Residents should direct questions about additional monitoring on Burns Lake and Decker Lake to their local law enforcement organization.”

The operation of vessels is regulated by Transport Canada under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (CSA, 2001) and its associated regulations, including the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations.

“In British Columbia, under Transport Canada regulations, boaters are expected to observe the unposted speed limit of 10 km/h (6 mph ) within 30 meters (100 feet) from shore,” explained Liu. “This limit applies on all waters within the province except where other limits are posted. These provisions do not apply in rivers less than 100 meters (300 ft ) in width, canals and buoyed channels nor in the case of waterskiing, where the tow boat launches and drops off skiers by heading directly away from or into the shore.”

Frank Peebles

About the Author: Frank Peebles

I started my career with Black Press Media fresh out of BCIT in 1994, as part of the startup of the Prince George Free Press, then editor of the Lakes District News.
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