More patrols and education coming for boaters on North Saskatchewan River

The city of Edmonton is going to step up patrols of boat launches, and education around acceptable behaviour, as a way to deal with noisy boaters on the North Saskatchewan River.

A small number of boaters is causing the majority of noise problems, city councillors told

Edmonton firefighters on the North Saskatchewan River. (CBC )

The city of Edmonton is going to step up patrols of boat launches, and education around acceptable behaviour, as a way to deal with noisy boaters on the North Saskatchewan River.

More people are expected to take to the river for recreational activities as the city improves access with new boat launches, and docks, several of which will be built this spring.

"There are only four or five people on the river that think they can do anything they want," said Mike Tynan with Klondike Jet Boats.

Tynan said he's been providing boat tours on the river since 1981.

He cautioned city councillors at a meeting on Monday to stay away from placing rules on those who use the river, that can't be enforced.

Councillor wants more rules for the river

However, Coun. Ben Henderson said more needs to be done to stop bad behaviour, such as noisy boats roaring up and down the river.

"Putting up a nice sign for all the people behaving already, is not really the point," Henderson said.

"This is about the people who are choosing willfully to make noise because that's the joy they take out of it."

Without having some sort of regulations in place, the city is not taking itself forward on dealing with this issue, added Henderson.

While it's important for the city to get ahead of any problems, it's premature for new rules, said Mayor Don Iveson.

The majority of people are using the river responsibly, he said.

"If some of the reckless and obnoxious behaviour doesn't change then we'll be forced to go to the last resort which is regulatory measures," said Iveson.

That is something he wants to avoid because it could mean restricting access to the river which is the opposite of what the city is trying to accomplish through the building of the additional launches and docks.

"I think we have to lay out clear expectations of responsible use of the river," he added.

Councillors agreed to have city park rangers step up their education campaign by increasing their visits to boat launches and places where people can access the river.

The city's by-law department will also look to develop a code of conduct that will be placed on signs at the various launches and access points.

A report will come to councillors in Jan. 2018 with an update on the impact of the signage and additional patrols.