Surf's up in ... Quesnel? Standing wave attraction in city's river being considered by council

·2 min read
A proposed idea for the City of Quesnel's river waterfront is to build a dam structure that would create a permanent wave people could surf either in a boat or on a board. (Quesnel.ca - image credit)
A proposed idea for the City of Quesnel's river waterfront is to build a dam structure that would create a permanent wave people could surf either in a boat or on a board. (Quesnel.ca - image credit)

Kayakers and surfers may want to keep an eye on the City of Quesnel as a possible future destination for catching the next big wave.

Quesnel, located in the Cariboo region between Prince George and Williams Lake, is a municipality where three rivers meet, the Fraser, the Quesnel and Baker Creek. In an effort to revitalize the city's waterfront and encourage more tourism and investment, city council is considering building a permanent river wave people can ride recreationally.

Ron Watteney, president of The Blackwater Paddlers, a local organization that promotes paddling of all kinds including stand-up paddle boarding, canoeing and kayaking, says the wave would definitely attract the company he keeps.

It would also be a way for locals who want to try traditional surfing to catch a wave without having to travel to the coast.

"It's a matter of the will to do it and the money to do it," said Watteney speaking Monday on CBC's Daybreak North.

The idea was proposed when the city released its Waterfront Plan in 2019, which looked at ways to revitalize eight kilometres of waterfront at the heart of the community over the next two decades.

The primary goal of revamping the riverfront is to make Quesnel a destination city that will attract more tourists, residents and investment.

An artist's rendering from the City of Quesnel's 2019 Waterfront Plan shows people looking at what appears to be a naturally occuring river wave that is in fact man-made.
An artist's rendering from the City of Quesnel's 2019 Waterfront Plan shows people looking at what appears to be a naturally occuring river wave that is in fact man-made.(Quesnel.ca)

Mayor Bob Simpson said he hopes city council will have a preliminary assessment of the project by this fall and can then decide if it wants to see the project through.

"We are certainly early days. It's certainly a doable venture."

The mayor said an exact location along the waterfront where the wave would be located has yet to be determined. He also said the idea is in the very early stages, but if executed, "it would be phenomenal."

Once a feasibility study is completed, Simpson said it will be easier to take the idea to regulatory bodies, such as Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Some work on the Waterfront Plan is already underway, according to the mayor, who said money has been secured and work started on a new municipal campground, as well as lighting and walking bridge improvements.