Lake Kathlyn. (Marisca Bakker photo)

Local Supply Co. floats idea to rent SUPs at Lake Kathlyn to town council

Town isn’t sure about the business idea, needs more research

A local sporting goods store is hoping to rent out stand up paddle boards (SUPs) at the Lake Kathlyn Beach this summer but needs to get the town of Smithers on board first.

At its regular meeting May 10, council heard a request from The Local Supply Co. for the Town of Smithers’ approval to set up shop at the beach.

The Local Supply Co. has been using the beach at Tyhee Lake Provincial Park for the past five years to rent out boards but is now hoping to move its operations elsewhere.

The owner of the store, Micaela McTavish, said they’ve had a great working relationship with the provincial park but now have some logistical issues with staffing especially when the weather isn’t ideal for being out on the water.

She also said Lake Kathlyn is a convenient location for their customers. Their boards are transported by trailer and the trailer would be positioned on the grass near the lake access and trash can.

They would also set up a sandwich board. She added they would be there when the weather is favourable and would advertise on their social media pages when they will be out there renting out paddle boards. She assured in her letter to council that there will be minimal impact to the beach area.

“We wanted to switch it up this year, and see if Lake Kathlyn would be a good option, maybe there would be more or different traction there,” McTavish told The Interior News. “We’ve found that people rent paddle boards and pick them up from the store or pick them up from Tyhee Lake and take them to Lake Kathlyn. It has been amazing at Tyhee so if the town doesn’t approve our request, we will just go back there.”

The store has been approved for a summer student through the Canada Summer Student Program and a staff member will be the primary attendant for the rentals. They will hold a level 1 first aid certificate and be able to offer tips to beginner boarders.

“This sounds really great to me,” said Mayor Gladys Atrill before asking staff if it is feasible.

Director of Development Services Mark Allen said he isn’t sure the zoning allows for rentals but has had initial discussions with the planning department at the RDBN about it and said council’s approval could help the proponent’s application if a zoning change needs to happen. The town owns the land but it is in the regional district.

“This can bring energy to a public area,” added Atrill. “An opportunity for people to try something new. And it is exciting that a business is looking at a way to expand their offerings, lots of businesses have had challenges and they are trying to figure out how to make our product more available to their users.”

Councillor Frank Wray expressed concern about giving one company a competitive advantage over another rental company to use public land, adding that Aquabatics (a kayak, canoe and paddleboard shop and rental) purchased private land to do lakefront rentals.

Council decided to refer the matter to town staff to come up with some options and report back at the next council meeting.

All were in favour except Councillor Wray who said it wasn’t fair to unload more work onto the staff under a tight timeline and mentioned the request should have been brought to council earlier in the year to alleviate pressure.

“Hopefully we have nice weather this summer and we are all about providing experiences for our customers, so whether we are at Lake Kathlyn or Tyhee Lake, we are excited to have an awesome summer,” added McTavish.

PaddlingSmithers council


Lake Kathlyn. (Marisca Bakker photo)