Village Council floats the idea of fleet pass change

Suggestions came out of meetings between Village staff and FVRD, which runs the boat launch on behalf of Village

The Village of Harrison Hot Springs Council is toying with the idea of changing the boat launch and parking lot regulations at the public boat launch.

The boat launch is managed and operated by the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) under an agreement with the Village. At the end of 2014, Village and FVRD staff met to look at operations for the year. According to a staff report from Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Debra Key, the FVRD noted the boat launch is working well. However, they raised concerns about the fleet pass system.

The current model allows multiple boats to be registered under one fleet pass at a flat rate of $300. Four fleet passes were sold for the village boat launch in 2014. Three of the passes had four or less boats registered while the fourth had 23 registered.

Two possible changes were discussed by FVRD and Village staff, to either limit the number of boats under one fleet pass or to switch to a commercial season pass similar to other boat launches such as Island 22. Island 22 and Dewdney offer a season pass for $50 or a commercial season pass for $100 per boat.

Another concern raised at the FVRD / Village meeting was the damage to the ramp each year due to improper boat and trailer removal. The annual cost to repair the launch is $3,000-$4,000.

Councillors disagreed with FVRD suggestions. Coun. Sonja Reyerse stood up for the commercial business with 23 boats, citing the number of visitors the business brings in. She says it’s estimated this particular business brings in more than $100,000 per year into the community. She also suggested that local residents should get 10 per cent off the going rate for boat launch fees.

Coun. John Buckley said he prefers to leave the current bylaw as is instead of changing it and hurting a business.

“I don’t know if we want to price ourselves out, because it is a draw to the community,” he remarked.

Coun. Samantha Piper agreed with Village staff that the local boat launch is “above and beyond” others and that it pulls in visitors to Harrison.

Council made the decision to table further discussion until an upcoming Committee of the Whole meeting.

The Harrison boat launch opens Friday, March 27 with hours of operation 12-8 p.m Fridays, and 6 a.m to 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays until May 7. Through the peak season, the boat launch is open daily from 6 a.m to 8 p.m. A day launch is $20, season pass is $135 and a fleet pass is $300.