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Meota and District News: St. Walburg Blueberry Festival begins Friday

Paddle and sail club now has 86 members.

MEOTA — Lots of boats, big and small are seen driving by these days as folks are taking advantage of the beautiful lake days we are having. Many are those big pontoon boats. There seem to be lots of folks having company too, as extra vehicles appear here and there.

Coffee row on Wednesday mornings at the Do Drop In continues to be popular as does the lineup of vehicles at the local café every morning. The golf course also is a busy place these warm days.

The bridge players in the city had two and a half tables Thursday, with top score going to Vern Iverson and David Sharpe. Second were Catriona Winterholt and Donna Sherman. 

The Aug. 18 seniors’ golfing had 20 entrants taking part. There was a tie for first place between Ken Buchinski, Bernie Gregoire, Marcelle Duhaime and Juliette Tebay and the foursome of Terrance Desilva, Calvin Arnold, Annette Duhaime and Lynn Boucher. The latter team prevailed with a score of 37 after a count back. The consolation team with a respectable score of 44 was Dennis Tebay, Albert Huys, Elizabeth Buchinski and Janice Morton. Again, the Saskatchewan weather favoured them and they all had a good experience and pleasant social time together.

Canasta was played at the Do Drop In on Friday, with four tables in play. Top score went to Vivianne Lesko and David Sayers. Second were Janice Morton and Vern Iverson and third were Linda Ard and Bob Lesko. 

The St. Walburg Blueberry Festival starts off Friday evening with their popular ethnic supper and old-time dance at the St. Walburg Parish Centre. Saturday starts out with their outdoor pancake breakfast, followed by outdoors markets, live entertainment, show and shine display, blueberry pie treats at various sites, kids’ activities and ending the day with their famous dinner and talent night at the Elks Hall. They are selling advance tickets for this latter event. Call 306-248-3353. 

Meota Lakefront Paddle and Sail

(Submitted by Trudy Janssens)

The late Lawrance Lassard would be pleased. In 1964 he had a vision. He sold the land on the water’s edge to the community so everyone could enjoy the experience of the lake. There are a few people in Meota who recall the high days of sailing from Meota. Dan Pollard recently described his experiences as a child watching literally hundreds of sailboats launch out of the Battlefords Sailing Club, which is now been rebranded as Meota Lakefront Paddle and Sail or MLPS. Jackfish Lake is suitable for recreational sailing. Lessons were offered and provincial regattas were hosted.

Sailing is like life. Sometimes the wind goes out of your sails. There is no guarantee that there will even be a wind. Other times it will be so exciting that you can hardly hang on.

Today there are many aspects to the experience that are being offered by Meota Lakefront Paddle and Sail. It’s gone from strictly sailing to all non-motorized water sports. When I took over as commodore a previous member told me to take the organization in a new direction. He asked me what my vision was for the club. The answer to that has gradually been unfolding. First of all, the facility in Meota was in desperate need of some TLC. During COVID lockdowns the entire property suffered from neglect. Last year the process of addressing all sorts of building and grounds maintenance was started. Volunteers from Meota, North Battleford and surrounding area stepped up to clean and groom the building and the grounds. That process has continued all of this spring and summer.

A core of members shared in this vision for how the once wonderful facility could be better used for all water-related non-motorized recreation. That included the beach. Repeatedly volunteers spent time digging thistles and hauling away debris. Abandoned boats were removed and existing sailing equipment was organized by a group of keen volunteers who had no idea how to even rig a sailboat. We learned what a jib is and tried our best to hang on to valuable sailing equipment that could be used for future sailing lessons. The facility was cleaned and organized to accommodate kayakers and members who own stand-up paddle boards. This brought in many new members who saw the advantage of using club equipment as well as storing their own equipment so it was much easier to get out on the water regularly.

Weekly Tuesdays/Thursdays kayaking at 6:30 p.m. was started so individuals who kayak could count on others to be there. Kayakers were less inclined to go out on the water alone. As a result many new friendships where forged.

Events were planned to promote stand up paddleboarding and kayaking. During those two events new people were drawn to all the activity on the beach. Tours were given and one-to-one promotion of all the advantages for members resulted in several new families signing up. As of August, MLPS has a total of 86 members when you include all the children in the headcount. By becoming a member, all 86 members have insurance coverage for water sports at sanctioned events under the Saskatchewan Sailing Association.

Sask. Sailing Association has also agreed to come to Meota the first week of July 2023 to teach sailing. Registrations for sailing lessons are already being accepted by Patrick Eckerman.

Sailboats that have been sitting idle for years are being brought back to life. I (at age 71) went out for my very first sail this week. Thankfully the winds were very light and my son even came out to “rescue” us from the calm waters.

The new MLPS board include young members who have the skills to facilitate easier methods for registration and payment. MLPS now has an online membership application form. Fees can be e-transferred. A new website is being launched, where several members can keep it up, instead of having to rely on one webmaster. Photographs and notifications are being shared on Facebook, as well as direct communications with members by text and email.

It’s exciting to see so many from the community getting involved and hopefully soon more people who come to the regional park will be able to recognize the value of being a member. Kayak and SUP storage, use of the club’s equipment and use of the spacious grounds and clubhouse are all benefits that make the reasonable membership fee extremely attractive.


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