After being forced out of their home of 13 years on Harris Road, the Pitt Meadows Paddling Club is looking for a new base of operations.
“We’re very hopeful we can figure out a way to keep operating,” said the group’s commodore Katie Stein Sather.
The club has been located on a small property at 14411 Harris Rd., where the Menzies Crossing Bridge traverses the tranquil Alouette River. When the landlord wanted to hike the rent by 26 per cent over two years, the executive decided the non-profit club could not afford the increase. They have been forced into searching for a new site.
“We might have to operate mobile, and haul around a trailer,” said Sather.
The club offers a variety of activities. There are youth paddling sessions to teach the basics of kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. The club has three dragon boats to offer team training, and the Al-O-Wetters women’s dragon boat team has been operating for more than a decade. There is also recreational paddling, outrigger canoeing, voyageur paddling and more.
Looking for a new home, Sather is hopeful the organization can get help from city hall, or even partner with the city.
On Saturday, as the club announced it was leaving the site on Harris Road, there was a large outpouring of support for the club in social media.
“It was a successful club in a very convenient location. It would have come back even stronger when restrictions are lifted, as I’m sure everyone is itching to get back on the water and socialize again,” said Melissa Hoffmann. “I hope you find something even better to lease, to keep this community sport going!”
“Thus is not good news for our community,” said Coun. Anena Simpson. “We’ll definitely keep our eye on a spot for you and hope for a bright outcome.”
A larger site that could offer space for boathouses and offices would be best. Sather noted the club has acquired some 70 different watercraft, including large three dragon boats for 20, two outrigger canoes for six, a voyageur canoe for up to 14 and a variety of different canoes and kayaks.
However, the club is now looking for virtually any site where they can operate from shore and access the Alouette River, ideally, or even the North Alouette. The Fraser River, however, is too dangerous to offer children’s programs, said Sather.
They have a trailer that they use as a base of operations, and also would bring in a porta-potty to the site.
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