Published on: August 6, 2020
Sarnias new accessible kayak and canoe launch made a splash with its first user.
Pete Williams boarded the facility in a yellow kayak mere minutes after city officials cut a ribbon Thursday morning signifying the $75,000 projects completion.
Its really, really good, said Williams, who lives within walking distance of the new Centennial Park watercraft launch. Ive been waiting for this to happen for a long time.
Dale Mosley, the citys accessibility co-ordinator, said they expect it to be really popular based on initial feedback.
Were hoping that a lot of people are going to be using it, he said.
The launch will be open seven days a week from dawn until dusk the gate wont be locked after hours but there will be signage from about April until October, Mosley said. It will be moved to another location in the bay during the winter months.
A ramp leads from the shore for users in wheelchairs and a bench allows people to transfer into a canoe or kayak. Handrails can be used to propel boats forward.
Mosley said a member of the citys accessibility advisory committee learned last year a person was crossing the U.S. border to use a similar launch there since there wasnt one in Sarnia.
The committee decided to make this launch a priority to assist all people, no matter their age or ability, wanting to canoe and kayak in our beautiful waterfront, he said.
Coun. Brian White credited the committee for going above and beyond accessibility laws and legislation by looking for new ideas.
Thats exactly what we have here today, he said.
Construction only finished Wednesday.
It was a tight timeline but (owner) Joel (Speake) from JS Marine was a huge help, Mosley said.
The Southwestern Ontario company was contracted to build and install the launch in the park, nearly in line with Maxwell Street and south of the Suncor Agora. The location is popular locally and was recommended by the contractor to avoid boat traffic, waves and current, a report from city staff said.
No fishing will be permitted there, but swimming will be allowed, Mosley said.
As long as theyre safe, he said.
The investment is part of the citys accessibility plan.