The Town of Osoyoos will ask the province to post improved signage to discourage jumping from the community’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
But other than that, the Town’s efforts to curb what it sees as a dangerous summer pastime likely won’t include much more than building awareness next summer of the potential danger and illegality of jumping or diving from the Main Street bridge.
With its hands tied on the issue — the bridge is the property and responsibility of the province — Council could do little more this morning than express its concern with the practice.
Information received from the province last week, said Gerald Davis, the Town’s Director of Community Services, indicated jumping from the bridge was an offense under the province’s Trespass Act, which states that a person commits an offense if he or she has been notified doing so is prohibited and commits the act any way.
“Warning signs should be posted that are clear and intelligible,” said Mr. Davis. “By way of example, such signs should clearly prohibit diving, clearly warn that the waters may hold unknown hazards, and clearly warn of the dangers posed by the passing of lake traffic.”
Coun. Mike Campol, called the activity a “numbers game,”
“At some point a boat’s going to come under that bridge again,” he said. “I don’t see the harm of having a sign erected.”
But Mayor Sue McKortoff wondered if the signs would stop youth from jumping from the bridge.
“I’m not sure people are going to pay attention to the signs,” said Mayor McKortoff. Indeed, she added, the matter had become a bit of a joke at the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen meeting she attended.
“When I was at the Regional District the other day, (members of the RDOS Council) had heard . . . and they started singing Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
Speaking to the “impossibility of enforcement,” Coun. CJ Rhodes noted the practice likely wasn’t high on the policing priority list.
“It’s a very seasonal thing,” he said. “It’s a dangerous activity, but I don’t know how you would ever enforce it.”
He would prefer Council put its enforcement efforts into crosswalks, recalling the death of a young girl in a town crosswalk several years and another accident involving two youth in another crosswalk.
“If we were putting time and energy into enforcement, we’d be better off looking at crosswalks in our community and try to minimize the impact with pedestrians,” he added.”
Despite the measure’s shortcomings, Council did opt to send a letter to the province requesting improved signage.
Council’s recommended signage — which would be placed and maintained by the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure — would state that jumping or diving is prohibited, a dangerous act and a provincial offense.
Council didn’t speak to the potential of asking the province to install pedestrian barriers on the bridge to eliminate jumping nor developing another similar activity — such as a diving platform or tower — to provide for a safer alternative.