A Port Alberni father says the dangers at a popular swimming hole are an accident waiting to happen this summer, and he wants something done immediately.
Paper Mill Dam Park is a favorite place to beat the heat on a sweltering day in Alberni, but some users are now fearful to let their kids play there because of who else is in the water.
Wading into the cool water of idyllic Paper Mill Dam Park, is a rite of summer in Alberni’s sweltering heat. But father of four Justin Fraser says the safe looks of the place that can attract upwards of 100 people on a hot evening can be deceiving.
“Someone’s going to get seriously hurt or killed. It’s that simple,” says Fraser.
Fraser says boaters are known to motor right through the water next to kids, and no buoys tell swimmers where is safe and where is not.
“I’ve seen them with their boats and they’re screaming around here pretty hard,” says Port Alberni resident Larry Horvath. “You can’t rip through a school zone at 80 kilometres an hour. Well why should you be able to scream through here when there’s kids swimming here,” he says.
RCMP confirm they’ve been called out a number of times about it. Larry Horvath says many close calls have happened already and fears are growing a tragedy could be just around the corner.
“It’s shallow enough in the beginning here lots of people like to dive down and then they come up,” says Horvath. “My concern is there’s going to be a boat coming up the river and they’re not gonna see him.”
Still they argue officials have done nothing despite complaints for years.
“Somebody get on this, deal with this. Save a kid’s life,” says Fraser.
The City of Port Alberni, tells CHEK News staff are actively looking into the safety concerns that have come forward, but offered no timeline when measures would be taken to improve them.
Leaving this firefighter and dad with no alternative he says but to to keep his own kids out of this favourite watering hole until something is done.
“I’ve pulled enough bodies out of this river, I don’t want to pull any more,” says Fraser.
And urges people to think twice before, slipping carefree below this water’s surface again.