'What's it going to take?': Witness to drowning wants more safety measures at Snyder's Flats
KITCHENER -- A woman who witnessed a drowning at Snyder's Flats on Wednesday is calling for improved safety measures at the site.
Swimming isn't allowed, but people sometimes end up in the water. Wednesday's drowning death was the second death this summer.
Lee Anne Evans walks through Snyder's Flats Conservation Area every day. On Wednesday, she said she saw people in the water who were in trouble, and believes a life preserver at the scene could have helped them.
"We couldn't find him, he had disappeared," Evans said.
A 25-year-old man was identified by friends to CTV News as Tejaswi Reddy. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Evans said Reddy and his friends were hanging out by the water when a member of their group fell in. Reddy jumped into the water to help, but the water was too deep.
"It's a tragic thing that happened, but it was avoidable," Evans said.
Evans said she'd like to see safety equipment at Snyder's Flats.
"If we would have had life-saving equipment, such as a ring with a rope, he wouldn't have died," she said.
This is the second drowning at Snyder's Flats this year. In June, a five-year-old girl died after going into the water. Police said the incident was an accidental drowning.
"We already knew there was somebody who passed away this year here and nobody has stepped up," Evans said.
In an emailed statement to CTV News, the Grand River Conservation Authority said swimming isn't permitted at Snyder's Flats.
"As such, there is no water safety equipment," the statement said in part. "There is signage at Snyder's Flats that indicates swimming is not allowed. The GRCA does not have the resources in place to allow swimming at Snyder’s Flats to occur safely."
The mayor of Woolwich Township said the GRCA needs to consider the options.
"Life preservers or life-saving equipment would help, but the bottom line is people shouldn't be swimming here," Mayor Sandy Shantz said.
Evans said people swim in the water even though it's not allowed.
"If it still occurring, and we know it's occurring, why then are we not providing safety equipment in case of horrific things happening," Evans said. "So far two people have died here this year, what is it going to take?"
The GRCA said the ponds at Snyder's Flats were created as an enhanced habitat for wildlife and swimming is contrary to the ponds' purpose.