The sun was setting as I paddled onto the shore of Kootenay Lake in a lovely kayak, owned by the Nelson and District Community Complex. It cost $7 for a two hour paddle. It was a heavenly beautiful ride.
Pulling in next to me was a family of five, all on their paddleboards, owned by the same community complex. I had passed them on the water and the kids were laughing and having a blast.
And also pulling in was an older couple in a canoe — also owned by the NDCC. They were all smiles.
Living next to our beautiful lake I had, for years and years, looked longingly at the people I saw out on the water. I wanted to paddle board, I wanted to kayak, I wanted to canoe. But I didn’t have any of those things. And in fact most people and most families don’t either. And I know that many people have also looked out on the water longingly, wanting to be out there, and wanting to get their kids out there as well.
This year our recreation commission, through the Community Complex, introduced a paddling program, for the first time giving access to everyone to be out on the water. It is very affordable. Punch passes are available for an even better deal and there are family rates for an even better deal.
Aside from being fabulous exercise, paddling is relaxing, calming, and gets you up close and personal with all kinds of waterfowl and fish. The play of light and cloud on the water, and the challenge of wind and waves adds just enough excitement for those who are up for a little adrenalin rush. It’s good for your body, good for your immune system, good for your emotional well being, and good for your soul.
Getting people out on the water helps to build healthy communities.
I only had one week off this summer, but being able to get out on the lake for a few hours before or after work made the summer feel like a long holiday.
In speaking with Alan, the wonderfully helpful young man who dispensed the watercraft as well as words of paddling wisdom, he said the program was so well utilized that they were getting more boats and expanding the program. Good for them.
Earlier this summer I had been in another BC community on a big lake. There was no program from their community centre and it was $20 for one hour to get out on the water. Fine for tourists, but not for many of the citizens who live there.
I want to express my appreciation for this program and to all those responsible for its success. It’s benefits will ripple through our community for years.
Sometimes I really do love paying taxes.
Judy Banfield, Nelson