Latest rescue at Long Beach sparks growing calls for lifeguards
Rob Buffam, CTV Vancouver Island
Published Friday, July 19, 2019 5:44PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, July 19, 2019 6:48PM PDT
The waves on Long Beach, near Tofino, attract surfers from all over. But while the waves may be known for their beauty and fun, concern is growing about their danger.
Karla Robison is an avid surfer. On Monday, she rescued a man stranded on Lovekin Rock off of Long Beach. "I paddled over to this person and that's when I asked him if he was stuck, and that's when he told me he needed help getting back to shore."
Robison says it's the sixth rescue by regular folks at Lovekin Rock this year. And that doesn’t include a harrowing Coast Guard rescue there this March, when four surfers were plucked by helicopter from the rock.
Last year, two people died while surfing in the area. One was the mother of a bride, who was getting married that day. The other was a PhD student at the University of Victoria, who was taking a surfing lesson. Both of them drowned near Lovekin Rock.
NDP MP Gord Johns made an impassioned plea last month for the federal government to reinstate the lifeguard service that had patrolled the area for 40 years, but was scrapped by Stephen Harper's government in 2012.
"I just don't know what its going to take before the government reinstates the surf guards program at Lovekin Rock," Johns said.
Still, despite mounting calls for lifeguards on the beach, Parks Canada indicated that won't happen anytime soon.
It issued a statement Friday to CTV News, the agency said "Ultimately, visitor safety involves much more than emergency response. Parks Canada works hard to educate people on the dangers of tides, unexpected waves, the power of rip currents, and the debilitating effects of cold water."