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RCMP's biggest fan happy they can move on
Shawnigan Lake's Ann Thow is sad to see RCMP crews not using her boathouse for lake patrols anymore.
But she's also really glad they've made a huge upgrade to a shiny new boat station at Shawnigan Lake School.
"They needed a boathouse about 10 years ago and that's really the story," said Thow recently after being recognized by the detachment for her years of volunteer help. "I really care about the lake and I knew they didn't have anywhere. It came together so easily."
Members of the detachment presented Thow with flowers and a plaque in August.
"Ms. Thow stepped up years ago and gave the detachment a boathouse to utilize every summer for the police boat," said Sgt. Rob Webb in an email. "She is always very welcoming when she sees us, whether it is during patrols or the unfortunate late at night or early morning emergencies over the years."
Shawnigan Lake RCMP partnered with the Shawnigan Residents Association (SRA), Parks and Recreation and Shawnigan Lake School to create the new boat facility.
"We’ve been very pleased with the positive relationship between the RCMP and the school throughout the process," said Webb. "The final product, which was designed and built by Dan Salmon, is a facility I think everyone will be proud of for years to come."
The new location will reduce response time on the water by more than 50%, with now a less-than-five-minute drive to detachment to docking.
The boathouse, located east of Shawnigan’s Read Crewhouse, was built in the same style as the rest of the school's facilities.
"(SLS) is proud to partner with the RCMP in this initiative," said the school's director of communications Ryan Panton. "We recognize that accessibility for emergency personnel is paramount to the safety of this entire area. As members of this community, we see helping facilitate the RCMP in fulfilling their duties efficiently and effectively as our civic responsibility."
Webb also gave kudos to SLS headmaster David Robertson and his staff, as well as Aqua-Tex, MOTI, DFO and the Malahat First Nation.
"Without a collective community effort, this would not have happened," he said.
Meanwhile, Thow's still "sorry to see them go."
"They're a great crew. There have been accidents on the lake, plane crashes, and I've been here. They work hard. I've seen them come in tired, beat up, and at 3 a.m.."
But the new house was a long time in the coming.
"It should have been done years and years ago," said Thow. "The lake is growing with more people, boats and skiers and they really needed it."