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Kamloops councillor wants the city to look at adding a user fee to boat launches

A man on a Seadoo enjoying the waters off Riverside Park. (via Brendan Kergin)

To keep up with boat launch maintenance, Coun. Bill Sarai wants the city look at creating a fee structure for the use of one or more of the city-owned launches.

City council approved repairs to the Pioneer Park and Valleyview boat launches today (March 12) as part of the supplemental budget. During that discussion, Sarai brought up the idea of a fee structure to help cover maintenance costs.

"That fund should always be there for the boat launches and not anywhere else," he tells KamoopsMatters. "The money that is paid by the users stays in the pot for the maintenance of the boat launch and any riverfront repairs that need to be done."

In total, $100,000 from the city's gaming fund has been approved for the launches; $70,000 for the repairs and $30,000 for a study.

Sarai is hoping the study, which will provide an overview of boat launches and river access points in Kamloops, includes a look at fees for usage.

"I think the boating community would be supportive of this, knowing that their fee is going to stay in the boating community to help them with the launches," he says.

He adds he's been part of the local boating community, and paying a fee to have secure parking and knowing the money would be going back into keeping the launch in shape would be something he'd support.

He notes the idea is not new. The Kamloops Airport charges recreational boat operators a $75 fee per season for use of the new floatplane dock. In Kelowna, one of the boat launches south of the downtown core charges either $5 for the day if you have a vehicle and trailer or $1 per hour if it's just a vehicle.

Currently, Sarai favours a system like Kelowna's, where a flat fee per day is charged.

"If you've got a motorcraft that's in the water, it's a one-day park, whether you use it for an hour or a day, you've paid for parking," he says.

In addition to looking at a pay system, he's curious if the study will find locations aside from the city's current launches that could be used. While McArthur Park makes the most sense, he says the regular dredging it needs is a con, while at Pioneer Park the popularity among different users can make it a difficult spot to launch a boat.

"There might even be a location somewhere we don't know about that could be made into a boat launch," he says.


Brendan Kergin

About the Author: Brendan Kergin

Brendan Kergin is a digital reporter based in Kamloops.
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