Advocating for access and preservation

Whitewater Community Kayaking


Juan Pablo Lavin is a whitewater kayaker, determined to preserve as many kayaking spots as possible, and to improve accessibility for future generations.

Juan fell in love with whitewater kayaking after being approached by the CUKC (Carleton University Kayak Club).¬†Throughout his engineering degree, he discovered that he was also very interested in urban planning and city policy. “Ultimately this was something that led me to Synapcity,” Juan said, “as it incorporated citizen empowerment, something I was interested in.”

“I’ve always been passionate about nature and adrenaline sports. I was very fortunate to have been approached by a whitewater kayaker at Carleton who was promoting the CUKC. I began taking classes and instantly fell in love with the sport, eventually becoming one of the directors of the club and later travelling internationally to teach kayaking.”


Through attending Civics Boot Camp in Fall 2016, Juan developed both the strategic plans, and the confidence, to approach city officials and decision makers regarding whitewater projects that affect the Ottawa community.

“For example, we have met with NCC and Parks Canada to improve accessibility to Hogsback Falls near Mooney’s Bay, allowing kayakers to kayak off a safe 15-foot waterfall. We have also worked on a larger-scale project to protect the ruins wave in Alymer, a world class surfing wave that could be demolished due to safety hazards.”

Juan continued, “We have employed engineers and top community speakers such as the president of Ontario Whitewater, Quebec Whitewater, Federaci√≥n de Kayak et Canot Quebec, etc, as well as politicians, such as the mayor of Gatineau and Alymer councillors.”


Juan aims to preserve as many kayaking spots as possible, and advocates for education and accessibility.

“As for now, the whitewater community along and I will continue to push for better kayaking access, education regarding the sport, and safety and preservation of already existing facilities that allow us to enjoy what we do.”


Keep up with Juan here, and the Carleton University Kayak Club here.