Wally & Carol Ewaskiw
Our family has cottaged at Big Bay for over forty years. During this time, throughout the summer, it was a family ritual to visit the Big Bay dock — travelling by boat, canoe, and kayak and even by foot, to the dock. Our children loved to swim, jump off the dock, and skip stones. Now, many years later, our grandchildren are continuing the family tradition and love their trips to the dock
In the summer of 2012, during a trip to the Port Elgin Beach and Marina, we noticed that life preservers, (with written emergency instructions), were posted all around the beach and boat docking areas. This brought to our attention that the Big Bay dock/pier and beach area did not have any type of life-saving devices available. The beach and dock at Big Bay are busy throughout the summer with swimmers, fishing boats, small and large pleasure boats, kayaks, canoes etc. Given the ever increasing number of ‘water related’ activities in that area we felt it was essential that life-preservers are a ‘must’ to ensure help is available in the event of an emergency
Shortly, after our visit to Port Elgin, I spoke to IVDAARA Board Member, Judy Belbeck, regarding the possibility of the Association having life preservers installed at the Big Bay dock/pier. Judy readily agreed to take my written request to an Association Board Meeting. The Board, in turn, took our request to the Township of Georgian Bluffs, and the Township agreed to install a life preserver.
That life preserver was installed in time for the July 1, 2013 holiday weekend. However, the life preserver was put up at the beach area, which was great for the swimmers, but as the end of the dock is some distance away, that life preserver would not serve the activities taking place at the very end of the dock.
At the IVDAARA Annual meeting in July of 2013, I thanked the Board for taking our request to the Township. As well, I also extended a thank you to the Township Representative, for their quick response to our request; but at the same time, I stated that an additional life preserver was necessary to cover all areas. Following that meeting, we sent a written request, to the Mayor and Members of Georgian Bluffs Council requesting the installation of an additional life preserver.
In July 2014 the second life preserver was installed.
In closing, we would like to thank to the IVDAARA for taking our initial request to the Township Council which resulted in life preservers being installed on a timely basis.
The beach and Big Bay dock/pier is now a safer place for all water activities.