The City of Kelowna has set out fees for commercial watercraft operators to use city-operated boat launches.
Dryland personal watercraft rental companies will have to pay $1,000 per watercraft, while dryland boat rental, boat club and watercraft tour operators will pay $2,000 per watercraft. Watercraft valet companies will pay only $200 per watercraft.
Commercial operators will be required to have a permit or licence from the city to use a municipal boat launch or pick up passengers from a city dock. The maximum term of a licence is one year. Companies could be fined up to $500 for not having a permit.
Council heard a presentation from the Property Management department at its Mar. 1 meeting indicating there has been a continuous increase in the businesses of commercial operators offering watercraft rental and valet services, and that those companies have monetized the use of municipal boat launches. Council also learned commercial users account for approximately 25 per cent of total usage.
The city is currently conducting a municipal boat launch review and assessment and has posted a community survey on its website. One of the areas it explores is what proportion of operation and maintenance costs should be allocated to taxation or user fees for private companies or the general public. It also asks what the city’s role should be in operating and maintaining its boat launches.
It costs approximately $250,000 a year for the city to operate and maintain its three launch facilities at Cook Road, Water Street, and Sutherland Bay, with an additional $1.15 million estimated over the next ten years for major repairs and improvements.