September 21, 2016 - 11:35 AM
PENTICTON - Penticton beaches are too large and too populated for any kind of effective lifeguard services, councillors agreed this week.
The City of Penticton has looked into hiring lifeguards twice in the last ten years and again this summer after two drownings on Skaha Lake earlier this year. The answer remains the same: Too expensive and ineffective to make a significant difference, staff said in a report to council this week.
Beach audits from 2007 and 2012 on Okanagan Lake Beach, Skaha Lake Beach, Three Mile Beach, the Airport Beach and the river channel showed none of them are suitable for lifeguards, staff said. Crowds are too thick and the beaches too long to offer any sort of credible assurance of increased safety.
Penticton, like most Okanagan municipalities, opts for signs advising that no lifeguards are on duty and people swim at their own risk. The city’s report also notes having guards can change the behaviour of swimmers, who abdicate the responsibility to look out for other swimmers.
Councillors took no action on the report.
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