Winnipeg river boat businesses struggle to stay afloat
High river levels this spring have made it challenging for Winnipeg river boat businesses to stay financially afloat this summer.
Popular attractions like the Paddlewheel Queen and the Splash Dash river taxi service are currently operating, but both have already lost some business due to water levels earlier in the season.
High water levels on the Assiniboine and Red rivers in May and June meant the Paddlewheel Queen couldn't get through the locks at Lockport, Man., so it was stuck at a dock in Selkirk, Man., during those months.
Paddlewheel River Boats Ltd., which operates the Paddlewheel Queen, says it lost one-third of its summer tour business — or about $200,000 — as a result.
"We have a lot of grads, a lot of anniversaries, weddings, all kinds of things. So, you know, we missed all that," captain Steve Hawchuk told CBC News on Friday.
Gord Cartwright, who owns Splash Dash Boat Tours at The Forks, said his business is down by 30 per cent this year because of high water.
He said his water taxi is in service, but his bus boats are too big for the current river levels.
"In July and August we run the water bus service, but now the water is high in the month of July so we can't run it at all. So that's one thing that we can't provide for the citizens of Winnipeg," Cartwright said.
Over at the Paddlewheel Queen, Hawchuk said it's important that Winnipeggers support the city's boat businesses.
"We just keep going, I guess, I don't know. We just hope that we have a good season … and people come back to visit us," he said.