Anglers want electric motorboats on Spider Lake

Safety is the main concerns of sports fishermen during unpredictable weather

Fly fishing is a popular activity on Spider Lake, 20 minutes away from the Parksville Qualicum Beach area.

Avid anglers frequent the lake during late fall, winter and early spring. However, they have raised concerns about their safety due to unpredictable weather conditions.

The area experiences sudden strong wind gusts that pose a risk to fishermen as they are unable to quickly paddle to shore. No motorized boats are allowed on the lake but anglers want that changed as a safety measure.

Rick Dunn, appeared on behalf of anglers in the lake as a delegation at the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Electoral Areas Services Committee meeting on March 12 to express their concerns. He informed the RDN board that they’ve experienced sudden winds at the lake that are very dangerous to small unpowered boats as they have forced them ashore in “dangerous and awkward circumstances.”

A boat with an electric motor will help, Dunn pointed out. Electric motors, he said, are different from gas-powered outboards as they use a rechargeable 12-volt batteries. They are quiet, he said, have no emissions, make little or no wake, and travel at speeds similar to a fast-moving kayak.

The anglers do not want to disrupt the tranquility of the lake but electric motors, Dunn said, can assist them out of trouble and back to safety. They can also assist others in distress.

David Rimmer, a retired biologist formerly with the Fish and Wildlife Branch of the Ministry of Environment, supports electric motor boats in the lake.

“It is very popular with retirees and consequently a significant proportion of the recreational users at Spider Lake are older folks,” said Rimmer. “Many of us would not be capable of sustained rowing or paddling to enjoy our outings on this lake and more importantly would have difficulty getting safely off the lake in the event of sudden strong wings, which are a not uncommon occurrence there.”

Rimmer pointed out, “allowing electric motors on Spider Lake would benefit the recreationl users and increase their safety.”

The Spider Lake community has rejected changing the boating restriction as they fear it would pollute the water, are noisy and will make it dangerous for other users.

“Those objections would be valid if they were applied to gasoline-powered motors, but they do not hold true for electric motors,” said Rimmer.

Fishing in Spider Lake, the group stated, is done during the off-season months for regular lake users such as swimmers, kayakers and paddle boarders.

The lake is stocked with catchable rainbow trout twice a year by provincial officials.

There was no further discussion, recommendation or vote related to the allowing of motorized outboard boats at the meeting.

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