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Bonney Lake to Consider Increasing Safety Measures at Allan Yorke Park

Mayor Neil Johnson plans to propose a number of changes to make Allan Yorke Park a safer place for swimmers at tonight’s council meeting. What do you think is needed at the popular park?

Since , have been discussed at city meetings, among citizens and the Bonney Lake High community.

Tonight, Mayor Neil Johnson is expected to make a statement on proposed changes in the park to make it safer for swimmers. He will present his ideas at tonight’s

Last night, facilities and operations manager Gary Leaf presented a few of the mayor’s ideas to the city Park Board for discussion.

“It’s the first time in 13 years we’ve had an incident like this,” said Leaf.

Issues that the city can address at the park include signage to warn against hypothermia in Lake Tapps’ frigid waters, removal of the floating dock and city staffers patrolling the lake during busy summer days.

Lifeguards, however, pose a different set of challenges.

“With lifeguards on the lake, the city could be considered accountable or responsible when incidents happen,” said Park Board member Jaime Trejo.

Park board chair Darren Proctor agreed.

“I recommend that we not hire lifeguards, but use that money that could be used to pay them and start swimming lessons,” said Proctor. “The city could set up a voucher program for low-income residents, or people who do not have access to the pool, and the city could subsidize it.”

The following ideas are among Mayor Johnson’s list of proposals for the city. Let the council hear your opinion at tonight’s regular meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Bonney Lake Justice Center.

Ideas for expanded safety measures at Allan Yorke Park, discussed at the Park Board meeting include:

  • Painting new signs on concrete blocks and touching up old ones on the dock in the to make sure warnings like “no diving” and “no shoving/pushing” are easy to see.
  • Adding water temperature signs at the park that warn against hypothermia in the lake.
  • Water temperature sensors that will display the lake temperature for swimmers
  • Remove the park floating dock permanently
  • Offer CPR training at special city events at the park during the summer months
  • Increase Bonney Lake police bike patrols during busy park hours
  • Post a city staffer at the park to direct parking, keep an eye on the park during peak hours
  • Collaborate with East Pierce Fire and Rescue on water safety classes at the park
  • Include throwable floatation devices in the park’s life jacket bank
  • Install a call box near that park that only calls 9-11 for emergencies
sally July 12, 2012 at 02:58 AM
I have to agree with Carla, I don't get the big deal of the floating dock? When was the last drowning at Allen Yorke? Isn't it better for the kids to have a place to go rest and then swim back? My 5 year old was in the lake for hours today and she was jumping off a dock and swimming between docks without a life jacket. Teaching kids to swim & teaching water safety make far more sense than removing a dock. Lakes have docks. Kids swim from point to point all over this lake. Gonna remove those too? One tragic story should not send an entire community into panic mode. I personally think we overuse lifejackets. I think it creates a false sense of safety. We keep kids so "safe" that they never learn how to save themselves. Just my opinion. Oh and as of right now, the lake is running in the 70 degree range with some parts up to 75.
CoreyAnn July 12, 2012 at 07:16 AM
I agree with Sally. I think that kids need to have MORE access to swimming outdoors and in less "sterile" environments. In fact, it is the bubble-wrapping of safety that actually leads to more accidents and deaths! Here's a great organization to find out more on the movement to change that. http://www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com/index.php?p=about&s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outdoor_Swimming_Society
sally July 12, 2012 at 05:02 PM
I love the "bubble wrapped society" description. That is it. We force life jackets on these kids to keep them safe forgetting that we are not raising children we are raising adaults. And as adults (young or old adults) they need certain life skills. Swimming being one of them. If all they ever experience is floating in a life jacket then they are going to have a very hard time when a situation presents itself that where no safety net exsist.. Life Jackets are a must on a boat, on a young child who cannot swim. And it is fun to float in they once in awhile. But to have them on all the time, not a good idea for the future of our children. I loved the propsed idea of a Water Awareness Month at local schools. And we must push swimming lessons for all kids.
CoreyAnn July 13, 2012 at 04:01 PM
I totally agree with swimming lessons for all kids! A novel idea is that maybe more parents get into the water and teach their kids personally? Here's a couple of good links: http://www.teachyourkidstoswim.com http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/teaching-kids-to-swim-does-it-have-to-be-left-to-the-experts/article4410500/ In addition to that, the Sumner Bonney Lake Aquatic Center is a great resource which our family has used for lessons. I highly recommend it!
sally July 13, 2012 at 05:22 PM
I go to a local pool often and I am always surprised at the number of parents who slap a lifejacket or floaty suit on their kid and then sit down to chat or read. No one seems to play with or try and teach their kids swimming skills. Seems as long as they float they have done their job. There are so many places to take lessons. And it is easy to teach a child to swim. Tons of online resources available.

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