Some Cultus Lake residents and boaters are against a huge increase in mooring buoy rental fees for 2021.
Cultus Lake Park Board is hiking the rental fees for buoys from $150 to $500 for next year, according to a longstanding lake resident.
“We are now expected to pay more than three times what we paid in 2020 to be able to use the same buoy in 2021,” Neil McKenzie told The Progress.
During the recent park board discussion about the 2021 budget there were numerous fees going up to pay for various infrastructure projects, such as increased parking fees, and new parking management plan, and more.
Joe Lamb, chief administrative officer for the park board, pointed to ongoing dearth of funding sources for the park.
“Cultus Lake Park receives no funding from the City of Chilliwack, the Province of British Columbia or the Federal Government,” Lamb underlined.
“Everything that occurs within the 640 acres is self-funded through user fees, business units and leaseholders within the Park.”
McKenzie said he’s had a buoy in the water for 23 years, and moved to Cultus as his primary residence several years ago.
“There are about 50 residents completely unified in opposition to this,” he said. That represents about 50 of about 220 buoys that are on the lake. About 70 of them are seasonal residents.
Some Lakers may not be aware that until about eight years ago there were no fees.
“If you wanted a buoy, you put it in the water,” McKenzie remembered.
First it cost $45 and then $75, and $150. In September of 2020 the Park Board proposed increasing the fees to $500, as part of the 2021 budget plan.
Just for comparison, although some argue it’s apples to oranges, the annual moorage fees at the Killer’s Cove Marina on Harrison Lake start at $2,250 for boats up to 25 feet long, but with extra services and amenities.
McKenzie estimated fees to moor his boat there might cost about $160 per year.
McKenzie says he understands the pressure on the park board to come up with extra revenues to offset the financial hardship of receiving no funding from senior levels of government, but argued the park board is placing an unfair burden on boat owners to pay for things like replacing the 40-year-old docks, or remediating foreshore erosion.
Resident boaters have “nothing to do with” foreshore erosion, he said. And the docks are used by all user groups in the park.
“No doubt the docks need to be replaced but picking on one group is taking the easy way out.”
He’s heard that some have suggested that anyone who can afford a boat at Cultus Lake can afford the $500 buoy fee, and McKenzie said it’s true that he can manage it.
“But if they can do this then what will be their next easy target?”
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