Riverbank beach dwellers react to city concerns
Swimmers not concerned with prospect of warnings, fines
At least some of the sun-worshippers that flock to Saskatoon's riverbank 'beaches' don't seem to be concerned about threats of warnings or fines.
While there has been no large-scale crackdown of people at beaches so far this year, the city's police and fire departments have been reminding people that swimming in the South Saskatchewan within city limits is illegal.
However, that hasn't stopped people from heading out to sandbank beaches located on the shores of the river.
"(Fines) wouldn't be a deterrent for me at all," said swimmer Mark Warbanski. "I know my health's not at risk. I'm an experienced swimmer and a former lifeguard."
Warbanski and his girlfriend often go out to the city's riverbank beaches. He doesn't think the city needs to be concerned about people on the beaches.
"You're taking away the one really nice thing that Saskatoon has, the beach," he said. "We have a beach, a beautiful beach. And they're trying to shut it down."
Assistant Fire Chief Morgan Hackl said swimming in the river can be very dangerous. He said the river is very unpredictable, and people regularly drown in the South Saskatchewan.
Hackl said the bylaw is aimed at people who swim in the river, not necessarily beach goers.
"If we see someone walking ankle-deep in the water, we'll go over and talk to them about river safety," said Assistant Fire Chief Morgan Hackl. "With something like that, there's a concern about education, there's not a concern about enforcing the bylaw."
Hackl said as long as people on the river are wearing a life jacket, they are allowed to use items like inner tubes, paddleboards and go water skiing.