Young Wolastoq entrepreneur adding to downtown Woodstock enjoyment

by | May 29, 2024

Bike shop owner to offer canoes, kayaks, paddle boards and bikes for rent

Thanks to a young Wolastoq entrepreneur, visitors to the downtown Woodstock waterfront this summer will have more accessible fun on the water. 

Wolastoq Cycling and Repair owner Jamie Polchies gained approval from Woodstock council to establish a watercraft rental service on the downtown waterfront. 

Polchies operates a bike sales and repair shop near the Eagle’s Nest on Wolastoq First Nation.

During a presentation at the May 14 regular council session, Polchies outlined his plans, with council’s permission, to expand his bike business to offer a selection of non-motorized watercraft for rental from a location behind NBCC Woodstock. 

He explained plans to move a 20-foot shipping container on site of the former Centennial Park to house the rental units. 

Polchies said visitors can select from seven kayaks, two tandem kayaks, four canoes, four paddle boards and two pedal boats. 

He said he plans to have his downtown business “up and running” by June 21 at the latest.

Polichies said he hopes to eventually add the rental of bikes and e-bikes to the list of available items. 

Polchies told the River Valley Sun that he started his bike-repair business in his home before moving to his location near the Eagle’s Nest last year. In addition to bike repairs, Wolastoq Cycling and Repair sells new and used bicycles, including trade-ins. 

Polchies said he hopes to expand his downtown rental business to include guided tours along Woodstock-area waterways and land trails in the future, but he acknowledged it will take time to meet the strict regulations and insurance costs associated with tour enterprises. 

Mayor Trina Jones and several council members expressed strong support for Polchies’ idea. 

“We’ve talked about this already, so we’re super excited,” said Jones. “There is a desire for many of us in the community to utilize our river to its full capacity so this will be a great addition.”

Coun. Will Belyea welcomed Polchies’ presentation.

“It’s an awesome idea,” he said. 

Following the presentation, the council approved a motion to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Wolastoq Cycling and Repair to establish the business on the downtown Waterfront during the summer. 

The motion instructs CAO Allan Walker to complete the MOU with Polchies and return it to the council for approval. 

Noting the exploratory nature of the business’s first year, the CAO and mayor explained that the MOU would not require Polchies to pay the town for downtown space. 

The motion passed unanimously. 

FOREST FIRE INDEX – click image for current status

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