Queen Elizabeth Paddle boats has reopened. PHOTO/EMMA BROWN

EMMA BROWN

emma.brown@age.co.nz

They’re back. Paddle boats at Queen Elizabeth Park are back in action after sitting idle since February.

More than 50 Masterton Intermediate school students turned up at Queen Elizabeth Park Boats on Wednesday to have some fun in the sun as part of their Admire [Active brain, Dependable, Managing self, Interactions, Relationships, Excellence] Day.

Peter Douglas’ paddle boat business was suspended while renovations to the park were being done.

The Masterton District Council park rejuvenation project stage five got underway in February this year , with lead contractors Higgins doing beautification work around Memorial Drive and the Lake of Remembrance.

Douglas was dismayed when he was told he had to suspend business until the end of next month.

“There has been that many people ringing up asking when the boats are open,” Douglas said.

But work was completed earlier than scheduled and he was glad to be able to resume business last weekend when an encouraging number of about 100 people turned up to hire the boats.

It was a quite a good turnout considering few people knew they were reopening, he said.

Queen Elizabeth Park Boats has been running for almost six years and on a good day, could have as many as 300 customers.

“We have had lots of people from Wellington, out of town, and overseas,” Douglas said.

The business started with four paddle boats, but that number and doubled and he had added kayaks and dinghies to the fleet.

“It’s my retirement job,” Douglas said. “I’m 75 years of age and it keeps me younger, fit, and it keeps my passion up, engineering-wise.

“And I like meeting people.”

All the paddle boats which were built from marine-quality fibreglass in the 1950s, have been restored.

But they aren’t made anymore and Douglas can’t buy replacement part. He has to make them himself or get someone else to do the job.

He said the business was in a way ambassadors for the park and that the revamp would really enhance the park and draw more visitors.

Queen Elizabeth Park Boats is open on weekends from 10am-5pm. Private bookings are available.

  • For more information or for private hire, the business can be contacted on its Facebook page, email queenelizabethparkboats@hotmail.co.nz or phone 0279323036.