The hot topic around water coolers and air conditioners today is the popular activity of floating down the Elbow River and the crackdown this past weekend on those not wearing life jackets and drinking alcohol.

About an hour before my friends and I hit the shores of Sandy Beach yesterday we heard about the crack down and we decided that it would better to pick up some life preserves than risk the wrath of By-Law officers. I have always considered them the scariest kinds of officers simply because it is not natural to be able to remember every bylaw out there, yet somehow they do.

My friends and I floated for nearly and hour and a half before a homeless man drinking in the bushes shouted out to us to put our life jackets on because the cops were right around the corner. Going against my judgment to not trust people who yell at you while hiding in the bushes we put on our life jackets and safely glided past the officers who had pulled over so many rafts it looked the shores of Florida.

As we floated by several things struck me funny about the bylaw that says it is mandatory to wear life jackets down the Elbow River. The first being, is this really a river? At its deepest parts me and my 5’6 from can easily touch the bottom. I feel like this would qualify the Elbow more of a brook than a river.

Funnier still is this analogy. Imagine you are drowning in the middle of the deepest ocean. A boat comes upon you and in an attempt to save you from the savage waves and deadly currents what do they throw into the ocean to save you? Well, they would probably throw you a flotation device long before they tossed in a life jacket. So why is it that when we use said floatation device (if not bigger) to float down a river whose current is weaker than my showers is it necessary that we have to wear a life jacket? Doesn’t that strike you as weird?

I don’t mean to make light of the situation obviously people accidentally drown all the time and it will always be a tragedy but if a grown adult can drown in knee deep water, should they even be allowed out of the house at all? Perhaps the by law should be changed to only allow adults to float down the river with out a life jacket. After all, did you know in Calgary only those under the age of 18 have to wear bike helmets? And I would love to find someone to truly believes that floating down the Elbow is much more treacherous than trying to bike through Calgary’s downtown core.

In a city where every July we essentially break every rule in the book for ten days straight, shouldn’t these bylaw officers find something better to do? Better yet, maybe the city should by them some rafts and let them see how fun Calgary’s very own lazy river can be. Alcohol free of course.

Mike Morrison


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