Pitt Meadows Paddling Club set to host B.C. Games

Heavy flooding forces change to Alouette River for canoe and kayak competitions

The 2012 B.C. Summer Games have spilled over to Pitt Meadows.

Games officials have moved a majority of the canoe and kayak competitions to the Alouette River after concerns with the conditions of the Bedford Channel and the Salmon River in Fort Langley.

The Pitt Meadows Paddling Club will now play host to most of the canoe and kayak competitions for the B.C. Games. Practice sessions will start on July 19 and the competition gets underway July 20 and 21.

Rick Hammer, commodore for the PMPC, said the local club received a call a couple of weeks ago seeing if it would be able to accommodate the change in venue.

“Their concern wasn’t so much the rising waters as it was the speed of the water. With younger paddlers out there, they want to be as safe as possible,” said Hammer.

Water levels in the Fort Langley area were at their highest levels in decades and more than 100 properties were placed under evacuation notice earlier this month.

Hammer said the PMPC was excited to be given the chance to step in.

“We are looking forward to the opportunity to be able to highlight the club and the community,” said Hammer. “We have people from all over the province coming and it’s a great chance to show them what we have to offer.”

Hammer said an advantage of hosting the games will be access for spectators. With dikes along both side of the river, visitors will be able to watch races from start to finish.

“We have excellent site lines. There are few sites around where you can see the whole race.”

The change in venue also meant new volunteers would be needed for the event. However, Hammer said all positions were quickly filled by eager club members and the community.

“The only thing we may need help with at this point is getting the area along the shoreline ready.”

He said  the water along the Alouette is receding about three to four inches a day, leaving debris along the shoreline that will have to be cleaned up before the event.

The skills competition will still be held on the Salmon River in Fort Langley starting July 22.


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