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Letter: Warren Jones, June 27, 2017

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Care needs to be taken when swimming in lakes.
Care needs to be taken when swimming in lakes.

It is that time of the year when people seem to consider the trespass onto private land and use of facilities not belonging to them is their right.

I swim in a local private lake where the owner has given me permission and competent open water swimmers invited by me who abide by common sense safety practices which include not swimming alone and wearing a float to enable visibility for other swimmers.

It is with absolute incredulity, therefore, that on Sunday, June 18, I witnessed several families trespassing on the land and using the lake facilities, including benches, boats and boards, even entering buildings to remove equipment without so much as a thought to who may own the property, amounting to aggravated trespass.

I was dismayed to witness young children being left to play in what may appear to be shallow water, but which I know is shallow for a short distance, but becomes suddenly deep and cold under the surface. The shallow water has a layer of slippery mud and silt on the bottom increasing the hazard. This lake is 14 metres deep in places.

More people considered it within their rights to trespass with their own craft in which they paddled about the water and from which I could smell that they were smoking cannabis. More were drinking beer from glass bottles near the shore. I watched as one woman took her baby to the water and dunked the baby several times. I know the water appears reasonably clean with a slight algae bloom at this time of the year, but there is a likelihood that there would be a real danger of contracting serious diseases. Blue-green algae is common and dangerous to people causing severe illnesses and can be fatal to dogs. Also, the water may seem warm at the surface, but even a few inches down the temperature can drop by several degrees and this change can be fatal to the inexperienced.

There are signs stating that the land is private and should not be trespassed upon and there are several no swimming notices. The owner is doing his best to keep trespassers safe yet their own stupidity is putting their lives in danger.

I have tried to talk to some of the people who have taken out derelict craft with very young children on board into the deep, cold water and no life jackets and received nothing but abuse.

The constant vandalism to furniture, buildings and signage requires expensive repair and replacement.

Perhaps a prosecution for aggravated trespass may bring home the seriousness of this behaviour.

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