Parks Canada announced today that the Le Boat company is planning to begin operations along the Rideau Canal in 2018. As we advised in a May 27th website update, the BRLA has been engaged with Parks Canada for the past year as this project has moved forward. We welcome today’s announcement believing it will bring significant economic benefits to the lake community and expect minimal impact to the quality of life we all enjoy on the Big Rideau Lake. For those of you who remember the 3 Buoys Houseboat/Party boat fiasco in the 80’s, this is very different.
According to a Le Boat company press release, the details of this plan include:
- An investment of CA$16 million in base infrastructure, along the length of the canal from Ottawa to Kingston.
- Le Boat's base to be located on the Parks Canada grounds in Smiths Fall.
- A fleet of 16 Horizon cruisers, which are low speed keel boats (10 kph maximum speed) with added handling and navigational features (bow thruster & GPS).
- All boat renters required to complete an orientation course provided by the company before setting out.
- The fleet planned to expand to at least 32 cruises over the next five years.
- Booking will begin in spring 2017, with the boating season officially launching in May 2018 and running through October every year.
This venture is part of a collaboration to attract investors among Parks Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport as well as various municipal partners. The benefits Parks Canada see include increasing tourism to the Rideau Canal (both on land and on water), providing more opportunities for visitors without boats, increasing the number of international visitors, and encouraging economic development and support job creation along the Rideau Canal.
We will continue to monitor this development as talks continue, and will keep our members informed as we learn more. For the full text of the Le Boat announcement, click here. And for details about the Le Boat company, please see their website.