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Hope RCMP increasing summer patrols at Kawkawa Lake

Police are responding to numerous complaints about boaters not operating watercraft safely
Kawkawa Lake can be a quiet and picturesque place if you visit at the right time, but it is a chaotic location on warm-weather weekends when boaters flock to the water. (Hope Standard file)

Hot weather has brought more people to Kawkawa Lake, and not all of them have been behaving well.

There has been enough trouble, in fact, that police are stepping up patrols at the popular outdoor destination. RCMP officers in Hope will be proactively patrolling the lake, using a boat on loan from the Chilliwack and Agassiz detachments.

Officers will educate and enforce boating safety rules, including the use of life jackets or personal floatation devices, and the detection and enforcement of impaired operators.

“The Hope RCMP have heard the message loud and clear from Hope and area residents as well as the seasonal users of the lake that a police presence is required on Kawkawa Lake,” said Staff Sgt. Sergeant Dwayne Farlin. “We intend on patrolling the lake for several days in August to ensure that the users have a safe, and fun, experience while visiting our community.”

There was plenty of discussion around Kawkawa Lake coming out of the B.C. Day long weekend, starting with a post by Leah Janyce.

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“As an avid paddler, I have kayaked many places and I have never experienced the low level of power boat etiquette that I experienced today,” Janyce wrote. “A number of power boats were speeding along the coastline within a short range of both swimmers and paddlers. A white boat with a blue awning did two-360 turns (donuts) within a 10 metre radius of my boat.”

Signage posted at the lake offers several safety suggestions for watercraft operators, including avoiding excessive speed and wake near swimmers close to shore or when near other vessels, and keeping at least 30 metres from shore when operating a vessel at a speed exceeding 10 kilometres per house.

Based on responses to Janyce’s post, those points aren’t being followed.

“I was out on the lake today in my kayak and the boaters were just ripping it close to the coast,” responded Joe Paul. “What would’ve been a lovely paddle became a frustrating race back to the dock. I usually paddle board but no way I’m doing it when the level of trust for boaters is at an all time low.”

“I’ve been on the lake fishing, and had ski boats come within casting distance to my boat, actually causing me to take on water from large waves,” noted Justin Peterson. “I was with my family so that’s the last time I’ve fished it in summer. Just not worth it.”

Lakefront property owner Karen Scott said it’s not just a safety concern. The wake from the boats is damaging to the shore line.

“And what they don’t think of is the damage to shoreline nesting birds,” she wrote. “A Loon nest will be flooded and destroyed by a single wave. We’ve tried for years to get people to listen.”

Transport Canada offers an 80 page guide to boating safety that can be downloaded online at


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Eric Welsh

About the Author: Eric Welsh

I joined the Chilliwack Progress in 2007, originally hired as a sports reporter.
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