Tubing the Cowichan River has been banned for the summer of 2020 due to COVID-19.
That is, unless things change for the better.
“We had a motion in council to prohibit tubing this year and the reason for it is not the actual tubing itself but it is the action of the people coming into town in masses and all congregating down by Saywell Park where the tubes are rented from,” said Lake Cowichan Mayor Rod Peters on April 28.
He explained further: “There’d be no social distancing, the way it should be, and that’s according to the rules set by the Vancouver Island Emergency Program, so we have to do it.”
It’s not just about shutting down the businesses. River entry points will be patrolled, as well so those with their own tubes are asked to stay away as well.
“The way we’re going to close the river is by taping it off and having signs,” Peters explained. “We’re going to have bylaw officers and if need be the RCMP to stop people from going into the river.”
The owner of The Tube Shack, one of the lake’s most popular tubing outfitters, is staying positive.
“I talked to the mayor last night [April 27] and I think he realized things might change in the next couple months and I think it’s just too early to make calls like this,” owner Aaron Frisby said.
Frisby’s under no illusions that it’ll be back to business as usual if and when things do loosen up, however.
“We’re pretty positive about how it’s going to turn out, but we realize we will be under some restrictions and we will have to come up with a plan for how to manage those restrictions. I think it’s too early to have a definitive answer as to what we’re going to do.”
Not one to shut down local enterprises, Peters hopes things change in the coming months.
“We have to do it, unless something changes,” he said. “But everything else has been cancelled, so there’s going to be a pretty good chance that that’s going to be a no-go for the summer.”