Rideau Lakes Township has come up with a canoe lending library for Newboro Lake. It’s slated to start the May long weekend and run through Labour Day and is free to those who have a Rideau Lakes library card. Photo credit: Pexels.

New lending library in Rideau Lakes Township will allow users canoe Newboro Lake

LAURIE WEIR

You can check out tons of books across Rideau Lakes Township, but how about a canoe?

This pilot project will get paddlers onto Newboro Lake, and was approved by councillors during the Monday, April 22 meeting of the municipal services committee.

Already the township has a recreation lending program that includes the use of snowshoes, pickleball racquets and nets and various sport balls, and Frisbees. If you have a library card, you’re all set.

“Staff have come up with the idea of a Canoe Lending Program. Since 2020, in partnership with the Rideau Lakes Public Library, the township has operated and continues to expand a Recreation Lending Library,” noted Leila Stafford, recreation and volunteer coordinator with the township.

The sports’ equipment lending program has been well received by the community, she added. There are five canoes to be loaned, all from the former day camp program and are no longer being used.

The canoe lending program will begin the long weekend in May and end on Labour Day weekend. Two canoes, along with life jackets, paddles and safety equipment would be moved from Sand Lake Park and stored at the Newboro Harbour on the community canoe rack. Staff have contacted insurance and they will allow the program to start providing the township has an agreement form with the user and conduct regular equipment checks.

The canoes would be available to be loaned out to the public during the harbour master’s hours (Wednesday to Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.). Paddles, lifejackets equipped with whistles, bail buckets and safety gear would be loaned out as well. Borrowers would be required to return the canoes by 6 p.m. of the day of loaning and would only be permitted to utilize them on Newboro Lake, Stafford explained.

Coun. Marcia Maxwell asked about the locking of the safety equipment after the harbour master has left for the day.

“The plan is to have locks that lock without a key so when you’re done using it you just lock it back up again and the harbour master can verify (equipment return) the following morning,” Stafford said. There will be take-out and return boxes.

Coun. Joan Delaney said this was a good proposal. “I was concerned about the insurance because the possibility of something happening is pretty high with a canoe.”

Given that this is a pilot project, “we’re not sure how this is going to go,” Staford said. “We’re trying to limit risk by not allowing them to portage the canoes or remove them from Newboro Lake.

Stafford added, “If this program works out well and it’s not too onerous for the harbour master and folks are able to use them respectfully, once the library in Portland has been completed – although the Big Rideau is not always the best for paddling — they would be happy to have a couple canoes at the Portland library that folks could loan out through the regular lending library as well.”

Coun. Paula Banks asked about beach toy lending for Portland.

Stafford said they have “big dreams for our recreation lending libraries.”

Maxwell asked if they could go through the locks with them.

“Just as long as they don’t stick it on their car and take it out to Sand Lake,” Stafford said.

Council supported the recommendation at committee and it will come to a council meeting for final approval.

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