Kayak Share Club Inc (KSC) is a new initiative and is open to anyone who wants to paddle in the heart of Sydney Harbour.
The share scheme was started by a keen group of Neutral Bay kayakers who sought to keep some kayaks on Hayes St Beach at Neutral Bay when North Sydney Council voted for all kayaks to be removed from the beach as a way to reduce the number of kayaks. It became a win-win solution for the community of paddlers, beachgoers and Council.
The club is solely recreational and does not run competitive events except a paddle to the next coffee spot!
The KSC fits well within the model of other kayak clubs. The only difference is we have a share boat principle, which is progressive, when you think about the waste of resources and so much equipment lying idle on the foreshores.
The not-for-profit, incorporated (INC 1801229) community-run club imparts a strong, fun and co-operative spirit to the beach community. The kayaks are provided by a few members to be shared with other members. The share scheme operates on the basis of good faith.
There is no club house, but the club's fleet of 9 kayaks are 'moored' on timber log racks built by North Sydney Council at the eastern end of the beach. Twilight drinks are held once a month in Day Light Saving time and it is a nice opportunity for paddlers to network off-water!
New comers are welcome. Applicants to become members are required first to do a paddle safety training session run by a certified instructor and become members of Paddle Australia. This is the peak body for paddle sports and provides the paddler with personal accident and public liability insurance coverage when paddling.
KSC appreciates the strong support given by North Sydney Council to this new initiative.
It's a whole new concept
In February 2018, the North Sydney Council declared all kayaks had to be removed from the Hayes St Beach, Neutral Bay by 31 August 2018 as too many kayaks of up to 55 craft, were getting left on the beach and many of which were infrequently used. A keen group of Neutral Bay kayakers saw many would stop paddling, especially seniors, if kayaks could not be stored on the beach as carrying craft up and down steps and/or storing at home was too difficult.
The beach was the perfect spot for launching kayaks from in the area. The group saw the only solution was a share-a-kayak scheme to resolve the problem of too many kayaks on the beach and achieving importantly, an equitable way of deciding who could store a kayak on the beach. The Council’s free craft storage permits and impounding methods were not working but a user-pays ‘parking’ system was not the solution either.
The group met regularly and initially setup an informal share-a-kayak scheme built on good faith as a solution to reducing the number of kayaks on the beach. Later they saw the need to incorporate into a not-for-profit, community-run club to gain recognition from North Sydney Council and to cover any liabilities.
In their campaign to keep kayaks on the beach they took up a petition and gained over 250 signatures from locals of support for keeping the kayaks on the beach on the basis of running a share-a-kayak scheme. Having kayaks stored at this prime-launching site was seen as critical to the success of the share scheme.
Loretta Moy a long-time paddler on the bay led the charge. The group met with Paddle NSW (the peak body for paddle sports in NSW) and gained their full support for this new club concept and their endorsement that it could be used in many harbour and water foreshores. Lynn Parker (Paddle NSW Education and Safety, Board Director) and Peter Tate (CEO) provided much help in setting up the club along with Adrian Clayton, a qualified instructor and assessor.
At the August 2018 Council meeting the Kayak Share Club’s constitution and the petition were presented along with a presentation from Loretta Moy and Henry Freiburg, club committee members and Adrian Clayton of Paddle NSW. The Council voted that the new Kayak Share Club could operate from the beach pending a council report.
Jilly Gibson, Mayor and Rob Emerson, Director, Open Space and Environmental Services of North Sydney Council worked with the Club’s Committee in setting the operating terms and conditions and constructing a timber log rack for storing kayaks on the beach . The Club appreciates the great support of North Sydney Council and Paddle Australia/NSW for endorsing this new concept of boat sharing. It gives many in the community the opportunity to go paddling without needing to own or rent a kayak. The club commenced in January 2019.
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