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Boaters, Get Ready to Launch in Ste. Agathe

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Boat Launch Crop
Ste. Agathe Community Development Inc. directors Joel Gagnon (front) and Shaun Crew (back) at the site of the Ste. Agathe dock and boat launch project. Dave Baxter

The group working to see a boat launch and dock come to Ste. Agathe say that the first phase of the project is nearing completion, and they expect to see boats cruising the waters in the area very soon.

“People are chomping at the bit for this to finally open,” says Joel Gagnon, director of the Ste. Agathe Community Development Inc. “I am getting constant messages from boaters asking, ‘When can we use the boat launch?’ There is a lot of anticipation and a lot of excitement.”

Back in October, the directors of the CDI stood on the banks of the Red River just off Pembina Trail in Ste. Agathe to announce the project.

Phase one, a fully functional boat launch with a price tag of approximately $600,000, is now just days away from completion. Gagnon says they hope it will be ready in the early days of June.

“I suspect that within the next week or two we will see this up and running,” Gagnon says. “Hopefully, it will be very soon that we can put out some social media posts letting people know that the boat launch is open for use.”

Gagnon adds that the CDI had hoped to put on a grand opening event when the boat launch was ready to go, but those plans have been put on hold because of current COVID-19 health restrictions in Manitoba.

Once the boat launch is open, Gagnon believes it will get a lot of use, as there are currently no boat launches in the area. Many boaters currently have to travel a far distance to get their boats on the water.

“There is really no formal access to the Red River between the U.S. border and Winnipeg, so this is something that is going to be a jewel for not only Ste. Agathe but for the RM of Ritchot, and the surrounding areas as well,” he says.

Along with the recreational benefits the project will provide, there will also be economic benefits to the community.

“We expect a whole lot of economic spinoffs with increased tourism and more business for gas stations, and restaurants, and other businesses in the area.”

Once the boat launch is ready to go, those who have worked to get it up and running will start work on the second phase of the project. That second phase will see an 80-foot-long floating dock large enough to accommodate between four and six boats at one time. It will be built right next to the boat launch.

Gagnon says the dock will not be meant for boaters to dock their vessels overnight, but rather for those who want to dock, spend some time in the community and at local businesses, and then get back into the water.

Gagnon adds the project is a long time coming, as it was first envisioned about 10 years ago, and he hopes the efforts of all those who have worked long hours to make it a reality are now recognized.

Along with his own contributions, Gagnon points out that a lot of work has been done by fellow CDI directors Shaun Crew, Alain Baudry, Dan Routhier, Dan Duval, Kyle Wattam, and Matt Klaverkamp.

“The amount of hours put into this have been countless,” Gagnon says.

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