Sidelauncher coach Chris Linton submitted a letter to the editor, published in Friday's Enterprise-Bulletin:
HARBOUR PLANS DON'T MAKE ENOUGH ALLOWANCES FOR ALL HARBOUR USERS
Re: Harbour plan goes for public input I wonder how many citizens of Collingwood and area have really thought about what it will be like to have a parking lot for boats in our harbour.
As an area resident, an athlete, a coach and a mother, I am alarmed about the plans for the harbour. Over the last few years, our once industrial harbour has been cleaned up and is now enjoyed by many people for many uses. I am worried that it will become not only boater-centric, as stated in your recent article, but exclusively set up for motorized boats.
My family and I are members of the Collingwood Dragon Boat and Canoe Club. Although I grew up in the area, it wasn't until a few years ago that I began to get out on the water.
Now I and my family paddle dragon boat, outrigger canoe and kayak. Our club has a burgeoning kids program, offering war canoe, flatwater paddling and dragonboat. Other communities in Ontario like Mississauga and Sudbury have thriving canoe clubs with a rich history that have produced Olympians like kayaker Adam Van Koeverden.
Collingwood has a similar jewel developing in our very own harbour.
But that is now threatened by a plan to rapidly introduce almost 200 new boat slips, which would dramatically affect the potential for shared use. The plan has made allowance for non-motorized boats to use the west side of the harbour, which frankly isn't realistic (there is nowhere to put our facilities and no potential to move the restored Watts Boathouse, our clubhouse, to that side of the harbour). This would mean crossing potentially busy boat lanes to get to our designated area. I can tell you this could mean the end of our kids' programs; as a mother I would never send my children out in a kayak to cross through lanes of motor boats.
I am concerned that your article gave significant air time to one spectator from the open house, someone who may have meant well but whose ideas just are not feasible.
Don't get me wrong -- it's not that motorboats and non-motorized boats can't coexist. Our club has made suggestions to the Harbourlands Committee that would see minor alterations to improve safety and to promote sustainable shared use.
I urge council to carefully consider how changes to the harbour can be implemented without jeopardizing the potential of what our club, the rowing club and the sailing school have to offer the community.
Don't it always seem to go...that you don't know what you got 'til it's gone?