'Nothing' has changed, says drowning victim's mom

Christopher Alkerton. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)

Christopher Alkerton. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)

Maryam Shah, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 4:01 PM ET

The mother of a young man who drowned in a provincial park four years ago says little has changed to prevent others from suffering a similar fate.

“Nothing, four years later — with the exception of one sign (at the spot where he lost his life) — has changed,” Lori Alkerton, 47, said from Niagara Falls.

“The only thing they have changed is they put up a colourful sign with some stupid cartoon character saying you can get life jackets,” she said.

Christopher Alkerton, 18, was swimming while camping with a friend’s family at Rock Point Provincial Park — 130 kilometres from Toronto on Lake Erie — when he died in July 2010.

He went under and never resurfaced, becoming one of an unusually high number of fatal drownings that summer. A month later, another 18-year-old man drowned in the same park.

The surge in drownings that summer prompted the chief coroner to conduct a review of drowning deaths. A report with recommendations was released in 2011.

The report recommended, among other suggestions, lifeguards for popular public beaches, clear signage for rough water conditions, and clearly marked high-risk swimming areas for visitors to avoid.

It also stressed the importance of learning to swim at a young age.

But three years later, water safety advocate and ex-lifeguard John Watt said the continued absence of lifeguards is a real issue.​

The ministry of natural resources confirmed it is not considering reinstating lifeguards on public beaches.

“I think it’s disregard for human life,” Watt said.


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