At Boating Industry Canada we often ask our readers to share their experiences out on Canada’s waterways. Recently in our Newsweek e-newsletter we asked for your experiences and suggestions for making the Trent Severn and Rideau Canals vibrant and sustainable moving forward in light of the changes to the system in the recent past. As both boaters and business owners on the Trent Severn and Rideau waterways, many of our readers had valuable feedback on their personal take on how the system has changed and needs to change further. What follows is a sample of what they had to say.
“Hi, my input into what is needed for the continued viability of the Rideau is simply needs to offer a service that boaters can travel to and from their destination in a reasonably timely way, this means running the locks the way they ran for all the years before Parks Canada did their best to put it out of business.
An example of how bad it was last year is that we arrived at the bottom of the Ottawa locks at 8:30 , were told they were locking a boat down, then there was further delays, we did not get to the Rideau center until 1 o’clock. The locks closed at 4 so it took almost the entire day to get only a few kilometres.
The adverse publicity had caused many boats to leave the system, at Hurst Marina we have lost about twenty year round big boats to the St Lawrence and Ottawa rivers, each big boat represents $10,000. to $15,000.per year just in marina fees, this compounds when the customer goes elsewhere to purchase another boat.
We are also down around 100 boats for storage and winterization because boaters are scared to come back into the Rideau in case it doesn’t open early enough or the hours are so short in the spring that they cannot reach their destination in time.
All these cuts are causing serious job losses and could jeopardize the viability of the entire operation..
Hurst Marina puts millions of dollars back into the economy in HST, payroll taxes, land taxes etc etc”
“In the past I have trailered my boat from Windsor, Ont. to both systems. Rideau complete 2 x and Trent system 5 times in parts.
The hours back then-1994-2005 were too short as we had to stop boating at 5 pm instead of continuing in good daylight hours. Not manning locks full time and reducing hours gives our country a bad name with visitors. It causes a lot of inconvenience to all boaters.
We need our parks to be user friendly. Thanks.”
“As a member of the Trent Severn Antique & Classic Boat Association, Toronto ACBS and ACBS International, i have organized trips over the last number of years with up to 24 boats and 65 people.
Our trips would be require from 5 to 6 room nights per couple with about 24 to 36 room nights per day.
We have had to cancel the last two trips due to the last minute change in hours of operation which will not allow our boats to make it from one community to the next where there is accommodation.
Not advising the public until the last minute has caused us to cancel two trips and post pone any additional trips until Parks Canada advises the boating public by November what their hours are going to be for the next year.
The cost to the local communities, motels, B& B’s, food outlets and marinas is huge. Businesses are closing. I live at Gannon’s narrows between Pigeon and Buckhorn Lakes and the traffic is certainly down. I doubt that 5% of the residents on the system ever use the locks due to Scheduled open times, and lack of experience. It seems that since my first trip through the locks as Rosedale some 59 years ago things have deteriorated, from maintenance, to putting long term employees on contract.
These systems are part of our heritage, and integral part of the communities along the systems and are a One Billion Dollar asses that is being totally mismanged.”
Our publication will continue to monitor both government action and reader commentary on this topic. If you have input you would like to share on the Trent Severn and Rideau waterways please contact us at anytime. We love to hear from you.