August 30, 2014 6:04 pm

Local entrepreneur’s personal transport tours stalled by city

Watch above: Segway tours along Saskatoon’s riverbank could be coming

SASKATOON – Saskatoon’s picturesque riverbank is a place to walk, run and bike but not for Segway tours.

Jason Kawa purchased two Segways two years ago, envisioning a business for personal transport vehicles along the river front.

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“I thought Saskatoon has a beautiful river bank and it’s an ideal setting so if I could purpose guided tours in a designated area then it could be something,” said Jason Kawa, owner of Eco Adventures Saskatoon.

That was two years ago; now his pilot project has run into road blocks with the City of Saskatoon.

“I think the issue might be that it’s something new. Once they understand that it’s a guided tour, it’s single file, there’s regulations, there’s a safety orientation, they’re wearing helmets, etc… then comparing it to other provinces in Canada that have them, they might be a little more understanding,” said Kawa.

“Our river valley trail system is very popular and very busy with pedestrian and bicycle traffic,” wrote Randy Grauer, the city’s community services department GM.

“Because Segways are considered to be motorized vehicles, they are not allowed on the trails according to City Bylaw. With our partners and stakeholders, we are seeking a balance where all reasonable trail users can enjoy a fun, fit and safe experience.”

Other cities around Canada offer these types of tours, something Tourism Saskatoon says would attract more people to the city.

“Personally I would love to see the riverbank open up to other commercial developments like having a bike rental place right near the riverbank or paddle boarding,” said Amy Stewart-Nunn, Tourism Saskatoon’s leisure marketing director.

“Segways, jet skies, anything like that, would definitely bring people down to the riverbank more whether you’re a resident or a tourist.”

The proposed four kilometre tour would operate in low traffic areas, avoiding roadways and upper trails. It’s currently sitting with city administration.

“What basically has to happen now is just it needs to be examined and looked at and compared to what did the City of Edmonton or what has the City of Calgary done and if it’s possible there, then how can we make it possible here,” said Kawa.

So far, Kawa has been limited to private and corporate events while he waits to expand his personal transport business.

Each Segway cost Kawa over $6,000 and he expected to have both devices paid off by now.

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