Fewer than 20 people showed up at a public meeting last night to talk about beach safety in Yellowknife.

It comes after a safety audit revealed 27 recommendations to make the beaches in Yellowknife and Hay River safer.

The audit was prompted by the death last summer of 7-year-old Lodune Shelley, who drowned while swimming in Yellowknife’s Long Lake in Fred Henne Territorial Park. 

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Seven-year-old Lodune Shelley drowned while swimming at Long Lake in Fred Henne Territorial Park just outside of Yellowknife last summer.

“I thought there’d be a lot more people here from the public,” says Niels Konge, a Yellowknife city councillor who introduced himself last night as a member of the general public. “This was a pretty hot topic last summer, obviously.”

One thing people at the meeting did agree on was that the public needs to better understand the dangers of the water, even at a small lake.

“One of the biggest challenges will be to create a culture where people look after each other on the beach,” says Richard Zieba who, like most people at the meeting, works for the territorial government.

Some people would like to see lifeguards posted at Long Lake.

But Konge says people need to step up and take more responsibility.

"I think as a community member, if you want to complain about safety and say that it should be better, then you have to have input,” he says.

Many at the meeting agreed that drowning prevention has to become a priority in all households, in order to prevent another tragedy.