Halifax staff to prepare report on lake safety

Click to play video: 'Halifax may see new rules around boating in lakes' Halifax may see new rules around boating in lakes
Boats have been disrupting swimmers at Springfield Lake in Middle Sackville. Now the regional council may have the chance to change that – Sep 13, 2017

A decision by a community council will see Halifax government staff prepare a report regarding safety on municipal lakes.

The North West Community Council approved the motion on Monday.

“I just wanted staff to dig a little deeper and to see if there’s anything that we can do to better monitor and just make sure that everyone is playing by the rules and playing safely when it comes to our lakes,” said Lisa Blackburn, councillor for Middle/Upper Sackville-Beaver Bank-Lucasville on Wednesday.

Of particular concern for her is Springfield Lake in Middle Sackville, where there is a relatively small beach adjacent to a boat launch.

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Swimming is disrupted when boats come and go.

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Prior to this summer, people wanting to transport their boats through had to see her predecessor and provide proof of a boating safety card, fill out an application form, and pay a fee to get a key to the gate, said Blackburn.

People with the keys would have to follow certain time guidelines to avoid disrupting swimmers.

“It’s a public boat launch, and that was the problem that city staff had with it: The fact that if it’s public, it’s got to be open to the entire public,” she said, adding that there are also issues with speed and inappropriate behavior by boaters.

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Blackburn’s motion was amended to remove a particular focus on Springfield Lake but rather look at lakes across the municipality.

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Paul Mitchell, who lives near the beach at Springfield Lake, said there have been heated moments at the boat launch due to a lack of courtesy from boaters, among other issues, particularly since the gate was unlocked over the summer.

“Their interpretation is what it is,” he said.

“They feel that they can come in and use it because they have been advised by somebody else at another level that you can do the following, which is totally inconsistent with how the area has been used.”

There can be about 100 people at the beach during the busy season, Mitchell said.

Blackburn said she hopes to have the staff report back to members of the council by this winter to solve these problems by the next boating season.

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