Public boat launch to become fee-based

Sooke will begin charging for boat launching in the new year

In 2013 it will no longer be free to launch a boat at the public boat launch, opened earlier this year.

At council on Monday, July 25, it was agreed that a $10 launch fee would be initiated next year and a proposed $10 sani-dump fee would not be instituted.

In a report to council, from staff, it said that commercial operations in Sooke  are being impacted by the free launch, in particular Jock’s Dock next to the hotel which offers boat launching for a fee.

There was also an issue with users of the public boat launch who utilized water, washrooms, fish clean out stations, etc. at Jock’s without any compensation.

Mayor Wendal Milne said  they would be taking some action to protect business, not compete with business in Sooke.

Councillor Rick Kasper said it was never implied that the public boat launch would be free. He said in the 2009 grant application, fees were used as a measurement tool.

In the interest of keeping the harbour clean, Milne said, “I am  personally not in favour of a big, or any, fee for the sani-dump.”

Issues of parking along West Coast Road came into focus as well, both for boat launchers and people who came to events at the hotel.

Discussions will be held with the Ministry of Transport in regard to parking along the highway.

“We’re a victim of our own success here,” said Kasper.

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Jock Finlayson is executive vice president and chief policy officer of the Business Council of BC

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