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Honouring a history of boating

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A man with deep family ties to Winnipeg’s boating fraternity is hoping to have that community’s history honoured in a very real way.

Josh Watt appeared before the Lord Selkirk-West Kildonan community committee on Dec. 11 to request the name of the Louise Bridge boat launch be changed to Buchanan Marine, its former title.

Buchanan Marine operated under the management of his grandmother, Shirley Watt, and co-operator Richard Watt (no relation) from 1958 until the mid-1980s.

During that time, the boat launch developed into a well-supported marina, with an extensive dock system and numerous boats. Mariners in the city visited the area for boating advice, help with repairs and to find out about weather conditions for the city’s river system.

"It was a beacon in the Point Douglas community," Watt told the committee.

"The gang at Buchanan Marine became the go-to people for support."

When Richard passed away in 1984, the property reverted back to the city’s ownership, and the city later renamed the launch after the Louise Bridge, due to its close proximity to the crossing.

Watt said he’s noticed that as time passes, records of the area’s history as Buchanan Marine is fading. He asked that the boat launch be renamed in order to preserve the legacy of community boating that exists there.

"For many years it became the epicentre of summer activities, and is still remembered with great fondness throughout the community," Watt said.

The committee passed a motion to recommend the name change, which will now go on to the standing policy for protection and community services for consideration.

"I’m very delighted. Not only will my family be pleased, the boating community will be pleased as well," Watt told The Times following the vote.

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