Launch fee makes sense

Nothing is free anymore, so just as we pay to get into swimming pool or arena, it makes sense for boaters to pay

Nobody likes paying for something, especially when they have been getting it free.

Some boaters will not embrace paying $5 a day to park at the Kalavista Drive and Paddlewheel Park boat launches next season, largely because a fee has not been levied before.

However, if the regional district follows through on its promise to invest the revenue in site upgrades, those concerns should be greatly minimized.

There’s no avoiding reality. There is a cost to providing parking — $3,000 for annual maintenance and $10,200 for attendants to manage congestion and other issues on summer weekends. In the future, there could be a shuttle service so people can park off-site, avoiding traffic at the launches, and then be transported to the lakeshore.

There will be some who question a user fee when taxes already go to boat launches. But this scenario isn’t any different than paying to get into the swimming pool or arena, although taxes subsidize those facilities. Taxation covers road maintenance but parking meters abound in downtown Vernon.

The regional district is also making it easy for boaters to purchase a discounted seasons pass. That means they will simply be able to pull into a parking spot instead of adding to congestion by jumping out of their truck, feeding the meter and blocking traffic.

Perhaps the most positive step taken by the regional district, though, was openly consulting with boaters instead of arbitrarily imposing a fee.

Paying more out-of-pocket is never welcome but this new fee should mean parking continues to be available to boaters.

– The Morning Star