New canadian law bans scuba divers
Underwater divers — who allegedly “take a whizz” in the parking lot — are not welcome at the fashionable seaside community of Lions Bay. Village council has passed a bylaw banning non-resident scuba divers at Kelvin Grove Beach Park, subject to $10,000 fines.
Coun. Peach Akerhielm says council needed to address concerns about divers’ “rude” behaviour.
“Too many of the divers strip down to total nudity at their cars and then urinate around the parking lot, within view of residences,” said Akerhielm, who was not available Sunday, on the village’s community website.
“Residents have many anecdotes and photographs. Two council members have personally experienced rude and provocative behaviour,” she said.
Divers said residents in the upscale community of 1,400 are being unreasonable.
“Petty little minds are at work,” said Glynn Miller, secretary of the Pescadero Dive Club in Vancouver.
“It seems a fascist type of move. It’s definitely curbing human freedom. I can’t understand why the residents are so upset,” he said.
Miller said locals have never liked sharing the beach with outsiders. The park sports wolf eels, anemones and sharks, who cruise along an enormous underwater wall.
“It’s tough to put your hand down without touching sponges, coral or something. The Cousteau Society says the bio-mass is amazing, more so than tropical waters,” said Miller.
He said complaints are overblown. “Being nude is virtually impossible. Over 90 per cent wear dry suits. They have underwear on.
“I can understand people taking a whizz because you’ve got to pee. No facilities are supplied. Divers aren’t the only ones doing it. So do people walking dogs.”
One online opponent called “Karine in B.C.” urged a group protest. “This is all kinds of disgusting. I say we organize a mass pee-off at the beach. Set a time and date for everyone to go.”
Akerhielm said the ban is legal because council is allowed to control parking and other activities down to the area above the high-water mark.
Miller said it may take a court challenge to overturn the bylaw.
“How can you stop people from diving at a public beach? The public has access to the high-water line. It’s the law,” he said.