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.
In mid-2019, Pearl Bay, Middle Harbour was recognised as a good spot for another KSC location and approval was sought from Mosman Council for a kayak rack near the beach. Council approval was given for only using the existing racks. In late 2021, John Barrow, a new KSC member took on the role of managing Pearl Bay KSC and took up liaising with the Council on the upgrading of their existing racks, provision of a temporary beach ramp, and planning for a permanent ramp. In April 2022, our Pearl Bay location was announced to members and on 24 September 2022 at customary KSC twilight drinks, it was celebrated as open by Ken Woolfe and ready for kayak bookings.
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