After drowning, emotional appeal made for lifeguards at Lake Tapps in Bonney Lake

Robert Harris

Some Bonney Lake residents made an emotional appeal to the City Council Tuesday night to hire  lifeguards for Lake Tapps in Allan Yorke Park, where a popular 16-year-old boy drowned last week.

The boy, Quentin  Boggan, was a member of the Bonney Lake High School football team. Residents believe his life could have been saved if lifeguards had been on duty.

Quentin’s mother, Yvette Boggan, said, "My older son said, ‘Mom,  Quentin and I are going to go to the lake’  and we didn't think anything of it cause it was just another day. If I knew that was the way the day was going to end, I would have made sure he stayed home with us." 

Last September, 17-year-old Robert Harris died in Lake Tapps, too.

"When Robert died on the beach that day, it dramatically changed all of our lives,” said his mother, Tina Lombard. “Not only did he die, each of us on that beach died that day." 

Both families asked the City Council to do something about the lake.

"It seems like it's the same thing every year and nothing happens,” Yvette Boggan said. “We still don't have lifeguards.  hose kids are still swimming at their own risk."

Sherrie Cinkovich, a family friend, said, “I wouldn't allow my children near Lake Tapps if I didn't think it was somewhat safe. I want that ‘somewhat’ taken out. There needs to be lifeguards for however long the season lasts." 

The city of Bonney Lake has never had lifeguards on Lake Tapps and Mayor Neil Johnson Jr. said there are pros and cons to having them.  The pros are obvious, but the cons include money and liability to the city.

"If you talk to any city that has risk insurance, they'll tell you that you’re at more risk having a lifeguard assuming responsibility for the city; if someone is to drown with a lifeguard on duty, that puts the city at more risk,” Johnson said.

The City Council will consider the matter, he said, and in the meantime there will be signs erected warning of potential dangers on the popular lake.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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