Bridge-jumpers worry town

Council members in Osoyoos discussed concerns Monday of kids jumping off the Main Street bridge into Osoyoos Lake.

Mayor Sue McKortoff spoke of one bridge-jumping incident in particular.

"I remember one young man jumping off the bridge right onto a boat that was going underneath. And he was cut very badly because he jumped onto the windshield, which smashed," she said.

"There are signs up there on the bridge, but I think it’s almost a rite of passage for kids."

Signage currently on the bridge was put up by the Ministry of Transportation, town manager Barry Romanko said.

No bylaw exists against bridge jumping in the town, but Romanko noted that the Ministry does have legislation against jumping from bridges anywhere in B.C. 

"It’s a rite of passage for sure, but it’s also a numbers game," coun. Mike Campol said. "It’s just a matter of time until a boat is coming under again and that happens."

Council members discussed what authority they may have in potentially creating a bylaw, to which Romanko pointed out that consistent enforcement would be an issue.

Coun. C.J. Rhodes added that putting in a bylaw could be counterproductive.

“When you create a bylaw, sometimes that’ll enhance the excitement of jumping off of that bridge," Rhodes said, noting that bylaw and RCMP officers have "a thousand other priorities" that they would look after first. 

He agreed that bridge jumping is a rite of passage in the community. 

"Let’s not jump all over our young children, there’s lots of adults that partake in that as well," he said rousingly. 

The option of looking into creating a bylaw was inevitably shot down by council members.

Instead, council directed town staff to identify how past incidents have been dealt with and to gather information on legal issues that may exist for jumping off the Main Street bridge.

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