District of Sooke takes back operation of boat launch

'Decision made after reviewing the service agreement to ensure the district is being fiscally responsible.'

The District of Sooke is taking back operation of the public boat launch.

The decision was made after reviewing the service agreement to ensure the district is being fiscally responsible, said Teresa Sullivan, chief administrative officer.

The district is paying out more in expenses than it is collecting in boat launch revenues, she said.

The district loses about $6,000 a year with the agreement.

In 2015, the district had revenues from sales of boat launch fees and annual passes of $24,282.98 and boat launch related expenses of $30,397. Of expenses, $22,373.95 went to the boat launch operator. The district also pays monthly fees for rental of the ticket machine, bank processing fees, rental of portable toilets and other items such as signage.

Coun. Kevin Pearson said, although it was important for the district to look at the service agreement, now was the wrong time to cancel it.

“Fishing season is going to be on us any minute now,” he said, adding the facility is well looked after and maintained.

Public boat launch operator Terrence Martin, who has held the contract since 2014, said district staff has not discussed the operation of the facility nor witnessed the operation.

“There’s no magic to it. If it is not monitored people won’t pay,” he said. “I operate the contract on cost recovery.”

There are other tangibles too, Martin added, including the money brought into town from fishing derbies.

Sullivan pointed out it was important for council to separate the issues concerning fishing derbies as opposed to operation of the boat launch.

When the current contract expires on May 31, municipal staff will run the facility, including fee collection and bylaw enforcement.

“It makes more sense to have this worked on in-house,” Sullivan said.

The public boat launch is located at 6933 West Coast Rd.