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An uplifting experience PHOTOGRAPHY BY PAUL BENNETT Install a hillside lift to make life on the water accessible to everyone T he first time one of Alvin Allen’s clients rode her new lift down to her cottage dock, it brought tears to her eyes. “Illness left her unable to get down the stairs to the dock,” says Alvin, owner of Cottage Lifts Enterprises. “She never thought she’d see her boat again but we built the lift so that it landed flush with the dock. All she had to do was step out of the cart and she was there.” Alvin rocky Muskoka’s rugged, Allen owner landscape is beautiful of to Cottage look at but some of Lifts best vantage its Enterprises points are difficult to access. A hillside lift can solve that problem, whether it’s getting down to the waterfront from above or climbing up to the cottage from below. Going up (or down)! There are many reasons why a lift could enhance life at the cottage, some that you may not have considered. Here are some things to think about before you decide to install a lift. Why do you need a lift? The most obvious reason to install a lift is to make either the lake or the cottage more accessible. A steep descent or multiple switchbacks to reach the lake can be difficult to navigate for those with reduced mobility, for young children, or in shoulder seasons when ice can make pathways treacherous. A lift can be used year-round to increase enjoyment of your property for everyone. If you frequently move materials down to the dock or up to the cottage, a lift can ease the workload. What do you want the lift to carry? Most people think of lifts as a vehicle for passengers or as a means of moving materials like luggage or construction supplies, but rarely both. A lift can manage both easily, but keep in mind your unique needs when you are selecting the type of cart. A freight lift doesn’t have the safety features needed for carrying people, like railings, but a passenger lift can carry things other than people. “It doesn’t have to be one or the other,” says Alvin. “A passenger lift has room under the seat to stow luggage or other materials, or you can send it on its own with whatever you want to put in it.” A freight lift can carry a maximum of 300 pounds while a 4-person cart has a maximum weight restriction of 1000 pounds. Where do you want the lift to go? Obstructions like trees, rock and stairs can make it seem as though installing a lift isn’t possible. Ask your manufacturer for creative suggestions to overcome these barriers. “We’ve installed lifts in challenging locations and have always been able to make them work,” says Alvin. His patented system for following the terrain avoids the adrenalin-inducing heights required by other systems while keeping the cart level and the ride smooth. How much time do you want to spend maintaining your lift? An intelligently-