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New paddling centre

Opening later this fall, the Ladysmith Maritime Society’s new Paddling Centre will be “a resource for the entire community,” says Rod Smith, Executive Director.

On the main floor, there will be secure storage available for any community members who would like to keep their vessel (kayak, canoe or paddleboard) near the water. Storage space is limited, but plans are underway for expansion should there be a need within the community. Also on the main floor will be lockers where paddlers can store their street clothes while they go off on a tour.

Vessel launching will be from low freeboard docks, along the side or end of the building. “I like the fact that there will be an indoor staging area where paddlers can get ready, protected from the elements, before they launch,” Smith said. “Of course, there will be a rinse off area, and we will be installing a water bottle refill station. One of my favourite features is the upstairs classroom or chartroom. This will be an area where you can plan your trip with your paddling companions using charts or online resources.”

“We will be encouraging community members and visitors to send us photos of their travels, so we can put them up on the walls for others to see. I have already been approached about displaying underwater photos, so we will all get a better sense of the spectacular beauty that lies in the waters around Ladysmith.”

“Next summer, we hope to have two or three camping pods on the water. These will be 20 feet by 20 feet floating structures for visiting paddlers to pull out onto, set up a tent, and enjoy the unique experience of camping on the water. The naturally calm waters of the harbour make it a perfect place for experienced or beginning paddlers to get out and enjoy the Salish Sea — one of the best paddling areas in the world. I would love to develop a relationship with the high school or a paddling group to encourage our young people to take up one of the fastest growing recreational activities in North America — an activity they can enjoy their entire life.”

Watch the video here.

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