2016 Victor Starts the Fix-the-Gull Project

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The project to return the Gull River to its pre-flood condition is underway.

Victor Ettel is a local paddler who has seen the deterioration to his favourite  paddling spot over 15 years with flows jumping from seasonal 10-30cms to well over 60cms.  This spring Victor was the first person to step forward and say he wanted to help.

Meetings with local paddlers and people who had done previous work carried on the process started by canoeist Dennis McGee in 2014.   We have taken his extensive mapping of all the eddies and walls moved, and added more instructional and group improvements.

The contractor, Bryan Kernoghan, estimates the full repairs with heavy machinery, materials, and a few improvements will come to $50,000.  

Due to the magnitude of the work, we are targeting a 3 year action plan.  Whitewater Ontario is committing $15,000, which leaves $35,000 to fundraise among paddlers, grants, and organizations who use the Gull.

Recently Dave Gillespie of Whitewater Ontario sat down for an interview with Victor.  

DG:  Hi Victor, thanks for stepping forward.

VE:  No problem.  This project is worth it.

DG: How long have you been paddling?

VE:  60 years by now (I know it doesn’t show…)

DG:  What does paddling at the Gull River mean to you?

VE:  It is a lifestyle, especially after retirement – paddling with similar  friends and sometimes sharing a beer afterwards... I know of no other pastime (other than skiing in the winter) that I would want to do instead.


DG:  The Minden WildWater Preserve was constructed over 35 years ago, hosting thousands of people paddling whitewater, fishing, walking, taking wedding photos, and enjoying the river.    For what reasons do you support this next phase of river changes?

VE:  Both selfish and unselfish reasons. I want to keep paddling as long as I can, but also want to preserve this unique place for the enjoyment of the future generations, including my own grandkids and friends. 

DG:  What would you like to see done?

VE:  Well I have thought a lot about these things to fix....

  1. Improved takeout at the bottom.  Its too unstable on RL and RR.
  2. Repair the displaced walls with a better design.  (e.g. the breached wall opposite the kissing bridge). 
  3. Reposition the underwater bars (Earl’s) 
  4. Returning the gravel below the falls back to where it came from (the put-in) 
  5. If possible, make the wall by pond - more flat and easier to walk on.   
  6. Talk to camps.  They bring lots of new young people here.


DG:  In conclusion, what could you say to someone who paddles at the Gull River?

VE:   If you have enjoyed this wonderful sport, the people, and this "Jewel of a river" - join me - let's make it a good place again.




Victor has generously donated $2000 to kickstart the Paddler Fundraising to the Fix-the-Gull Project.  All donations are assigned to "river work" only.   

Next step is to present our proposal for RR Township property to the Minden Hills Township council meeting - Thursday July 28.  10AM.  Their approval paves the way for the MNR application.

In the next update on the Fix-the-Gull Project, we will have the status of permits, and fundraising opportunities for the project's $35k.  



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