Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District director Penny Cote

Regatta supports lake’s marine patrol

The Sproat Lake Regatta has donated $1,000 toward keeping the Sproat Lake Marine Patrol operating.

The Sproat Lake Regatta has donated $1,000 toward keeping the Sproat Lake Marine Patrol operating.

The Sproat Lake Marine Patrol has been operating for about 13 years, offering assistance to Alberni Valley and tourist boaters at the boat ramp. The patrol, made up of students, visits schools to promote the “Kids Don’t Float” boat safety program, talk about personal flotation devices (PFDs) and with older grades as well as boaters on the lake, the hazards of drinking and boating.

In a November 2014 referendum, people in the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District voted to keep the marine patrol and create a service area to fund it, switching from a grant-based system.

This will ensure the ACRD can tax the service area for up to $30,000 to keep the marine patrol in operation.

“But we’ve received grants for up to four years already,” regional board director for Sproat Lake Penny Cote said. Transport Canada supported a three-year annual grant of $24,000 for the patrol, and there are two years left, she said.

“(Transport Canada) identified this program as such a good program that they’re supporting it.”

The regatta committee decided to support the marine patrol to keep the amount of taxation down, spokesperson Joe van Bergen said. The committee hopes to be able to make another donation following the 2015 regatta, which is planned for July 17–19 at the Sproat Lake Provincial Park boat launch.

The patrol will run as it has in the past, from June to August with up to four summer students.

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