Loch Lomond set for supervised swimming area after drownings

The council has agreed to create a lido at Balloch Park offering a safer space for open air swimming.  

Loch Lomond set for supervised swimming area after drownings iStock

A supervised swimming area is set to be created on Loch Lomond at Balloch Park after four people tragically drowned this summer.

Members of West Dunbartonshire Council have agreed to adopt a water safety policy for the constituency and create a lido at the country park, while creating a safer space for open air swimming.  

It comes after seven people drowned in Scotland in the space of a week, during the month of July. 

Three of those tragedies happened at Pulpit Rock in Loch Lomond and claimed the lives of Edina Olahova, 29, her son Rana Haris Ali, 9 and friend Asim Raza 41. 

And on July 23, 16-year-old Connor Markward lost his life while playing with his friends at a section of the loch in Balloch Park.

A motion was brought before full council on Thursday by Conservative councillor Sally Page who called on the local authority to introduce a “robust” water safety assessment procedure in light of these incidents. 

Councillor Page said: “Sadly this summer has seen the deaths of four people due to drowning in Loch Lomond.

“There are approximately 30 deaths a year due to drowning in Scotland. During the warm summer weather there is an obvious desire for people to swim and a dedicated policy for swimming in the loch would give many benefits while increasing safety levels.

“There is strong local support especially from the West Dunbartonshire ammatuer swimming club who are 100% behind this idea and have offered to help with lessons to give people the opportunity to join this growing popular sport of open water swimming.”

Members agreed that council leader Jonathon McColl should write to neighbouring local authorities and members of the Glasgow City Region to ensure they take every opportunity to educate their citizens on the dangers of open water swimming.

Leader of the council Jonathon McColl will also write to Scotrail and the British Transport Police to ensure they take steps to provide information to travellers visiting Balloch and other tourist areas with open water.”

Councillor Page continued: “It would be quite good to have posters on the trains highlighting the dangers of the loch and the fast flowing River Leven.”

Once in place the safety policy will be implemented across West Dunbartonshire benefitting people from Clydebank to Balloch. 

Updates will be provided in due course.

By local democracy reporter Catherine Hunter

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