CRD explores jet ski ban on Elk Lake

Regional district will contact Transport Canada about ban that would not include gas-powered motorboats

Sharon Glynn has gained a lot of support to ban jet skis from at Elk Lake. Glynn is standing on 'water ski' beach

Sharon Glynn has gained a lot of support to ban jet skis from at Elk Lake. Glynn is standing on 'water ski' beach

Jet skis are already restricted to the western stretch of Elk Lake and now a new movement from locals is looking to keep them off of Elk and Beaver lakes completely.

Sharon Glynn is a regular visitor to Elk Lake and lives just a 10-minute walk up the road. Over the past five years she’s learned that the majority of fellow lake users she talks to are not happy with the presence of jet skis on Elk Lake.

After dozens of consultations with locals, Glynn presented a proposal to ban jet skis at the CRD board meeting on Sept. 21 and it was well received.

The board voted to explore the topic, said CRD director Mike Hicks of the Juan de Fuca electoral area. Hicks is concerned with the response from some CRD directors who were interested in exploring an all-out ban on gas powered motors in regional lakes. Operation of vessels on the water is overseen by Transport Canada, but the CRD can make recommendations to them.

“We asked our staff to contact [Transport Canada] to see if there’s anything we can do about [jet skis],” Hicks says. “We don’t know if we can do anything yet.”

This isn’t the first time motor boats or jet skis have come before CRD. In 2008 there was a discussion about banning gas powered motors from local lakes. That led to a dialogue with Transport Canada, but nothing came of it, said Coun. Judy Brownoff, who was a CRD director then and still is.

Saanich actually has a noise bylaw that targets jet skis on Prospect Lake, but no other lake. The bylaw, which Brownoff remembers enacting, explicitly prohibits noise by personal water craft, another term for jet skis.

“Council believes that the noises produced by the operation of personal water craft on Prospect Lake are objectionable and liable to disturb the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience of individuals and members of the public in the vicinity of Prospect Lake,” reads the bylaw.

There are restrictions elsewhere in the region, with Durrance, Matheson and Thetis among the most notable. They permit electric engines only.

Only Thetis can compare with the number of users that Elk and Beaver Lake Regional Park have. The latter receives an estimated 1.4 million visits annually and hosts national and provincial rowing regattas, provincial triathlon championships, the Saanich Strawberry Festival, a fishing derby, and an estimated 14,000 visits by fishing anglers. The number of annual jet skiers on the lake is unknown but is likely under 100.

Saanich residents Heather Smith and Joanne Moller are regular swimmers at Elk Lake, preferring the small beach in the northwest corner. It’s accessible off Brookleigh Road, just west of the boat launch. It’s popular for being removed from the Pat Bay Highway.

They have choice words for jet skiers which can be politely summed up as ‘not in Elk Lake, thanks.’

Glynn is clear that she doesn’t actually have a problem with the motorboats, which are often pulling water skis and inner tubes. Rather, it’s the jet skis that are inconsistent with the usage of the lake, she says.

“For the last five years I’ve been a frequent user and enjoyer of the lake, and what I observed is the many types of people enjoying the lake. Runners, swimmers, motor-boaters, water-skiers, and jet skis, and it’s the the jet skis that bother people.”

Glynn says it’s the high pitch and irritating noise the jet skis make, which is partly based on the behaviour of jet skis as they travel at high speeds. Glynn was supported at the CRD presentation by members of the Victoria Golden Rod and Reels Club and B.C. Wildlife Federation. Others have shown support, including rowers, though the Victoria City Rowing Club did not endorse the proposal as a club.

Many will be hesitant to endorse a proposal, Hicks says, as long as there is confusion about whether banning jet skis means banning gas-powered motorboats.

“The rowing teams use motors, the fishers use motors, and I have a suspicion that jet skis may be considered a vessel the same as a motorboat,” Hicks says. “In that case, there’s nothing anyone can do.”

Hicks said he would not vote to ban gasoline outboards on that lake because it’s already restricted to a certain area. He doesn’t see how the rowing club, which can have upwards of 200 rowers on the water in a day, or the fishing derby, which has 500 people, can exist safely without gas-powered motorboats.

“The problem is you can’t ban a gas-powered motor when there’s nothing to replace it,” he says. “The rowers are way too fast to expect an electric motor to keep up with them.”





Just Posted

The District of Saanich has pinpointed funding requests to Oak Bay and Victoria to help offset the purchase price of the Kings Park greenspace and keep the property intact. (Courtesy District of Saanich)
Saanich requests funding help from neighbours to preserve Kings Road green space

District hopes Victoria and Oak Bay will join them in protecting urban green space

North Saanich council Monday will consider the results of a survey conducted by the North Saanich Residents Association that finds little support for increased densification. (Black Press Media File)
Survey finds little support for increased density in North Saanich

North Saanich Residents Association conducted the online survey

According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate in Greater Victoria stood at 6.3 per cent in May 2021, nearly unchanged from April’s rate of 6.2 per cent. (Black Press Media File)
Unemployment rate in Greater Victoria stagnates at 6.3 per cent in May

Latest figures reflect conditions before lifting of public health measures

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

The City of Victoria is hoping to ring in the summer by celebrating local art and offering some distanced, live music to surprise people in parks, plazas and other public spaces. (Photo courtesy of the City of Victoria)
Live, pop-up concerts and local art being showcased in Victoria this summer

People will see surprise serenades at 16 locations throughout the summer

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read