Homeless dragon boats collecting water

  • Oct. 7, 2009 2:00 p.m.

Two almost-new boats, worth about $35,000, are tied up at the Queen Charlotte docks, unused and collecting water.The dragon boats were purchased by the village with a grant two years ago, but they are not being used regularly by anyone and have no place where they can be stored safely for the winter.Dragon boats are long, narrow canoe-style boats paddled by teams. Dragon boat racing has become a popular recreational activity in many BC communities.Valerie Hayes, the woman who wrote the grant proposal to get the boats for Queen Charlotte, said she’s disappointed they’re not being used. Part of the problem, she said, is that no society has ever been formed to look after the boats and organize teams to use them.”I certainly want to see them used,” Ms Hayes said. “We’re surrounded by water and dragon boat racing is the fastest-growing sport in the world. I just thought it was a good idea.”The grant used to purchase the dragon boats was given through a program administered by the Union of BC Municipalities, she said, intended to promote community fitness and team building.At the Queen Charlotte village office, finance clerk Jen Bulbrook said the dragon boats need a volunteer who could organize all the details of looking after the equipment and getting teams out paddling.”We need someone who is really interested to step up and dedicate two nights a week. We need a coach,” said Ms Bulbrook. “We had a professional instructor come up and we spent three days on the water learning, it was great, he said we have two boats and that’s a race if we can get it going.”As the season is over the biggest issue is transportation and storage of the boats. The compound at the village office is no longer available because of other equipment being stored there.”Moving them is the biggest issue and it is not feasible without funding, we need more community involvement,” said Ms Bulbrook.Anyone who is interested or who could dedicate some time to the dragon boats should contact Ms. Bulbrook at the village office.