Posted on 29 February 2012 by Keith Lacey
After several weeks of discussion, Town of Osoyoos council has finally adopted its marina operations bylaw detailing rules and regulations for those who obtain seasonal boat slips starting in April at the new town marina at Lions Park.
Two days after agreeing to most of the terms and conditions, the majority of councillors changed their mind last Wednesday about using an annual lottery to select who will purchase the slips and have instead adopted a policy which will give the town the right of first refusal for those who purchase slips following an initial lottery to be held in the next few weeks.
In other words, if a person who wins the lottery to purchase one of the 11 available slips for 2012 abides by all the rules and regulations detailed in the bylaw and pays his or her fees on time, they will be able to keep their spot for 2013 and each year moving forward.
The town marina on Osoyoos Lake will have 32 spots with the town leasing 16 – 11 to members of the public using a lottery this year, four for commercial operators and one for the boat operated by the RCMP.
Coun. C.J. Rhodes said he had a “change of heart” over holding an annual lottery, saying allowing solid citizens who abide by all the rules in 2012 to keep their boat slip for 2013 is the way to go.
“It might create a market and demand for these spots,” said Rhodes.
Mayor Stu Wells agreed saying this was a difficult issue, but he “had to lean towards loyalty to those first-year people who want to renew” their boat slips in subsequent years.
Community planner Steve Shannon told councillors he adopted language for the new bylaw directly from other communities in the South Okanagan who have adopted similar marina operations bylaws.
The 16 boat slips will be leased each year at $1,500 for the season, which will generate $24,000 in revenue for the town, with $12,500 in 2012 to be used to erect proper fencing at the marina and the remaining $11,500 put into a reserve fund, Shannon said.
Council agreed to most of Shannon’s recommendations to operate the marina, including:
- The slips will only be used between April 1 and October 31 each year.
- Owners of boat slips can sub-lease their spot only once per year and that user will pay the town an additional $500 for the season.
- Commercial users will not be allowed to store equipment at the marina facility.
- Rowdyism of any kind will not be tolerated.
- Signage will be installed which clearly details policy and procedures and any boat owner who uses the marina without a boat slip will have their watercraft towed.
- No personal watercrafts will be allowed to be docked at the marina for 2012.
Council has discussed installing more than 50 extra docking spaces at the marina by using “F-Docks,” but those will not be considered until a thorough review of how things went in 2012 is completed, said Wells.
The town will explain its new marina policy and rules for conducting the lottery by undertaking an extensive advertising campaign, said Alain Cunningham, the town’s director of planning.
A motion to limit the length of owning a boat slip under the town’s right of first refusal policy to three years was voted down.
Wells said he believes a few spots will be available every year as some people who win the lottery and purchase slips for 2012 won’t want to renew or will launch their boat somewhere else in coming years.
“I can see some sort of lottery system every year,” he said.
Rhodes said if a boater is a “bad actor” and doesn’t adhere to the rules, town administration will have the right to refuse renewing the slip the next year.
Wells said he’s impressed with the amount of work that has gone into this bylaw, even though he realizes some changes might have to be made following the 2012 boating season.
“We’re going into uncharted waters here,” he said. “We will have to make some adjustments at the end of the first year.
“Let’s get this as close to perfect as we can and get the darned thing going … I have no doubt we’re going to have to do some tweaking and make a few changes, but that’s OK.”