In preparation for the launch of Le Boat’s Rideau Canal fleet in the spring of 2018, Smiths Falls town councillors have agreed to invest a total of $40,000 to build two new docks in the Victoria Basin.
Economic Development Manager Cyril Cooper advised councillors at a Feb. 20 meeting that half of the money is coming from the Valley Heartland Community Development Funding Corporation. Council has approved an additional $20,000 investment of funds from the town’s economic development and tourism reserves.
In June council approved the building of 15 docks in Victoria Basin. Eight have already been completed, while seven more are currently under construction, Cooper reported.
Cooper said growing interest in Le Boat’s North American expansion is triggering the need for additional docks. The international company has located its new North American headquarters in Smiths Falls. Other communities along the Rideau Canal, as well as the Trent-Severn Canal have solicited the self-driving houseboat tour company to expand its operations into their areas.
“Hence, it is vital that Smiths Falls continues to expand their boating infrastructure to allow for Le Boat to expand in Smiths Falls,” said Cooper, adding that, “Each boater from Le Boat spends $1,450 per day for each boat, and arrives a week before and [stays] a week after their excursion. Increasing the boating capacity for Le Boat and others in Smiths Falls will have a significant economic spin-off.”