Marine patrol needs support

Sproat Lake Marine Patrol needs support, says Alberni resident.

To the Editor,

Please vote yes to the Sproat Lake Marine Patrol referendum question on Nov. 15.

This is a most valuable service, so important to all Alberni Valley and visiting boaters plus a great economic benefit to Valley businesses.

This service provides a much appreciated/ needed water safety education at Sproat Lake Provincial Park boat launch.

The service has been successfully operating for 12 years by the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District with four local summer students providing assistance and education in boat launching, safety checks, lifejacket loaning, marine distress, boating etiquette plus beach cleanups for public enjoyment.

The $30,000 cost has been basically operating on government grants and assistance with a present three-year commitment to 2016 with a possible local regional tax for 2016 of $7,500 shared by all Alberni Valley residents. The Alberni Valley Regatta Association has committed a grant of $1,000 if the patrol is continued.

Some Valley voters may consider this a Sproat Lake residents’ benefit, which is far from the truth as most residents have their boats moored at their docks, while most other boaters are using the service on a daily basis.

The safe, accident-free boating at the lake is a record to be proud of and probably to some degree because of the marine patrol.

Let’s keep this valuable service on our lake as a shining example of safe boating.

Joe Van Bergen,

Port Alberni

(Editor’s note: Joe Van Bergen is a member of the Alberni Valley Regatta Association)