Ted Crouch of the Shuswap Association for Rowing and Paddling brought Salmon Arm council a gift in appreciation for its support of the project of restoring 15 dragon boats that came to Salmon Arm in 2015 after being dry-docked in Vancouver since 2008. - Photo contributed

Salmon Arm dragon boat restoration recognized

Dilapidated watercraft ready for the dump, now restored to former glory

Thanks and appreciations were exchanged in Salmon Arm’s city council chambers Monday morning.

The occasion? Ted Crouch of the Shuswap Association for Rowing and Paddling brought council a gift in appreciation for its support of the project of restoring 15 dragon boats that came to Salmon Arm in 2015 after being dry-docked in Vancouver since 2008. They included nine teak Chinese dragon boats that had been donated to Expo ’86, as well as six traditional yellow cedar racing boats from the Vancouver Taiwanese Cultural Society.

Crouch first saw the boats advertised in a boating magazine and went to view them in Vancouver, where the Chinese Cultural Centre Dragon Boat Association offered them to him. He was instrumental in acquiring the boats and acted as coordinator of the project, which provided work and training for 17 unemployed people.

On Jan. 8 he provided council with a commemorative plaque, fashioned out of teak and camphor wood removed from the boats during restoration.

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Council thanked him and the team of people restoring the dragon boats.

“This is an amazing story of these boats coming from under the Burrard Street Bridge, scheduled to be thrown in the garbage and chipped…,” said Nancy Cooper. “Not only did you save all those boats, you made a difference in all those lives.”

Coun. Ken Jamieson agreed.

“The project was a catalyst for rebuilding confidence and developing skills that, for some, they didn’t even know they had. It helped a lot of young people – not all young, it was a quality project.”

Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond thanked Crouch for the plaque and the thoughtful legacy – “restored boats and restored souls.”

Coun. Alan Harrison pointed to Crouch’s leadership. “It always takes a leader to make things happen and your leadership style is clear – I didn’t hear the word ‘I’ once…”

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