Council approved licencing fees for commercial operators in March. (File photo)

Council approved licencing fees for commercial operators in March. (File photo)

‘Let’s go get ‘em’: Kelowna cracking down on boat tour operators without dock licence

Licensed companies will have a sticker on their vessels so they can use municipal boat launches

The city will be going after Okanagan Lake tour boat operators who don’t have a municipal dock licence.

According to Ron Forbes, a former property manager with the city who assisted with implementing the dock licence program, 11 companies have their licence, seven are currently applying and 12 have said they will not be using municipal docks.

“That’s what they said and we will tell you right now that’s not true,” said Forbes. “We’ve got video evidence of a company who was using the boat launches this (past) weekend.”

Forbes did not name the company but added there were 16 calls to bylaw for unlicensed companies using city boat launches and two $500 tickets were issued.

“They were told to leave, refused to leave and they were ticketed for that.”

Licensed companies will now have a sticker on their vessels, something Forbes said all operators have been advised of.

“So if they don’t see the sticker and they see a rental going on, we’ve invited them to give bylaw a call. That’s been part of the number of calls coming in, are rental companies saying ‘I’ve paid my dues, these guys haven’t, let’s go get ‘em.’”

Forbes also said video cameras at docks will be monitored and if an unlicensed company is seen using one bylaw can be sent to ticket them. Council approved licensing fees for commercial operators in March. Forbes said one of the key successes has been a reduction in commercial demand at city-owned docks.

“Twelve companies have made alternate launching arrangements. Anecdotal evidence suggests there’s been a little bit less congestion.”

He noted that launches are still very busy.

”You will get people who will tell you they’ve waited 45 minutes to launch their boat on a Saturday when it’s 30 C outside and they don’t like sitting in their vehicles, added Forbes.”

Capital News has spoken with several commercial operators, some licensed and some not, who are concerned several private boat owners are offering tours for payment yet are not required to have a dock licence.

READ MORE: 11 men tossed into Okanagan Lake after pontoon boat flips

READ MORE: ‘I’m on a boat’: Rental service expands to Kelowna


@GaryBarnes109
gary.barnes@kelownacapnews.com

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