Wes Baker is asking city council to lift some of the financial burden for Prince Rupert boating enthusiasts while also making it safer for people to launch from Rushbrook Floats.
Baker, who was joined in council by a number of supporters, presented council with a petition signed by 143 people asking the city to remove the parking fee for the winter months and make it cheaper for taxpayers to use the facility.
“We propose to change the bylaw to allow daily parking at no cost for all boat-trailers launching from Rushbrook from Oct. 1 to May 1 of each year. Presently, only a small number of locals launch in the winter and the lot is mostly empty … Cow Bay parking is free year-round, so why not free winter parking at Rushbrook,” he said.
“The other change would be to allow local residents who pay taxes to buy one annual pass for the parking lot at Rushbrook for $100. It could be purchased when they pay their annual utilities bill or residential taxes in early July … right now it is $200 for a truck and boat trailer and that is just at the level people won’t pay for it because you would have to go out 20 times to cover the cost. A reduced charge of $100 seems a lot more reasonable.”
The idea was one that found vocal support from some on council.
“During the winter that parking lot is empty … during the winter I don’t see why the taxpayer should be punished when they want to go out fishing and there is an empty lot,” said Coun. Barry Cunnningham, with Mayor Lee Brain saying work is already underway on the Rushbrook file.
“We have a full report about this issue coming back to council shortly … we are new on council and there is a long history to Rushbrook and a lot of ideas about what to do,” said Brain.
But it wasn’t just the fee for parking Baker took issue with, calling the condition of the launch ramp “embarrassing”.
“Right now there are pieces of it missing and boat trailers are being damaged when they go over the edge at the bottom or hit one of the rocks at low tide,” he explained.
“Surely if the city can afford 51 slots for yachts to moor, it can afford to properly maintain the ramp at Rushbrook.”
Brain, in response, told Baker repairs to the ramp were scheduled to be done later this year.
“We are definitely aware of the issue and want to come to a resolution,” he said.