Tubing banned on Cowichan River for upcoming summer due to COVID-19

CHEK
WatchA staple of summer in the Cowichan Valley that draws tens of thousands to Lake Cowichan will be banned this year due to COVID-19. The Mayor of Lake Cowichan says tubing will put too many people at risk if it's allowed to go ahead.

Lake Cowichan tubing companies had been hoping up until Monday that this summer would include tubing with social distancing in place due to COVID-19.

“We’re a seasonal business and we rely on that income in the summer months,” said Aaron Frisbee, owner of The Tube Shack.

“And we employ a lot of local people as well.”

But the mayor of Lake Cowichan announced on April 27 that tubing will not be allowed in any way this summer.

“We will be revoking their business licenses,” said Mayor Rod Peters of the Town of Lake Cowichan.

“Or not giving [licenses’ to them and we’re going to help them get a hold of the right branch of the government to get reimbursed because of their loss from the COVID-19.”

The tourism reliant community is a very different place right now and the signs of it are everywhere.

One large sign on the main road into town reads: “Respect our Town. If you don’t live here, please stay home.”

A senior’s residence has covered its name with a thank you banner to front line workers.

Lake Cowichan resident Bruce Ingram said COVID-19 is the top concern for everyone.

“I’m a senior citizen and I live right on the river,” said Ingram.

“So there are times on the weekends especially during the hot weather we see as many as a thousand people go down the river on the weekend. I sincerely hope they do something to make it safe for all the people that live on the river.”

Peters said the town will monitor the sides of the Cowichan River to make sure people aren’t bringing their own tubes.

“And going down the river. So that there will be no tubes on the river at all,” Peters said.

The town’s decision is being made more than two months before the tubing season’s scheduled start.

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