A program that offers water-skiing for people living with disabilities will not be allowed to operate on Wascana Lake this year because it relies on motorboats.
The adaptive water-skiing “give-it-a-go” day takes place each year on the lake. The program uses special equipment to accomodate each participant, with side skiers on hand to ensure safety.
The event gave Blake Lamontagne, who uses a wheelchair, his first opportunity to try water-skiing in 2014.
Lamontagne has gone on to become a member of the national adaptive water-skiing team.
“It’s taken me across the world,” he said.
“This time last year, I would’ve been just getting home from skiing in California. I got to spend three months in Austrailia skiing, its been taking me all over the place and it’s just beginning.”
Coach Lisa Williams told 980 CJME they go through a long application process to get permission to have their boats on the lake, which includes providing a safety plan and filling out 20-pages of paperwork.
While they’ve been granted permission in previous years, the Provincial Planning Commission (PPC) denied them for 2018.
In a statement provided by the PCC, the commission said they’ve received a number of citizen complaints about the event due to it’s use of motorized boats.
The PCC added safety is the main reason for the decision, as motorboats are not normally allowed on the lake.
“There was so many people that supported us and it’s unfortunate that the few people that felt they had more right to be there than we did — it’s too bad that they are bowing to those people,” Williams said.
She noted one of the main issues they run into is canoes and paddle boats coming into their rented area of the lake while the program runs.
“It’s not like we can just stop when we come across a paddle-boarder and dump somebody in the water, it’s too dangerous to be dropping them and having them in the water,” Williams said.
She said even when people are warned to stay out of the area, they often remain in that part of the lake.