Central Alberta Rowing Club has a new home.
Having outgrown space on the edge of Lacombe Lake loaned by a local landowner, the club went searching for a new place to launch and store its more than two dozen boats.
The club found a champion in Lacombe County Coun. Barb Shepherd, who helped navigate the club through the municipal approval process. A few days ago, the club got word county council had approved granting the club an occupation licence to use an unused road right-of-way on the lake as a new launch point and secure compound.
Club president Andy Nokes said rowers are really excited about their new location, which provides enough space for a fenced boat storage building and a launching dock at the north end of the lake.
The next challenge is raising about $90,000 to build the facilities and improve the right-of-way for rowers’ vehicles. A provincial grant matched with club fundraising will be used to cover the cost.
Work on the boat shelter could begin later this year. Everything is expected to be ready for next season when the club will move a short distance down the shoreline to the new site.
“This project will ensure the sustainability and growth of the club,” said Nokes. “We will also be able to share the facility with local kayak and canoe clubs.”
Lacombe Lake, between Lacombe and Blackfalds, is a prefect location for rowers because powered boats are not allowed. Rowers don’t have to worry about dodging other boats and their wakes and must only share the lake with the loons, pelicans, beavers and other wildlife.
The club has also worked with the Lacombe Lake Watershed Stewardship Society, a volunteer-driven group that closely monitors the health of the lake. A battery-powered safety boat used by the rowing club has been used to collect water samples for the society.
Rowing has become increasingly popular in recent years. Adults and junior rowers can be found out at the lake practising most evenings during the work week and on Saturday mornings.
Last weekend, a three-day adult learn-to-row session was held to introduce newcomers to the sport.
For information, go to www.centralalbertarowing.com.