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Berth policy needs boater inputby Paula Levy
CHESTER - Boaters in the Municipality of Chester do not want council to change its wharfs and slipways berthing policy without more consultation.
A group of boaters attended a council meeting on July 14 to address what they say are problems with the policy currently being considered. Municipal resident Brady Hennigar said the policy needs more work, particularly to the section which limits all craft to a one-hour time limit to tie up to any municipally owned wharf or raft within any 24-hour period.
"If you have a one-hour time limit, can you return to that wharf to unload again? If you load up in Chester Basin, do you have to return to the wharf in Western Shore or Chester to unload?" asked Mr. Hennigar.
Warden Allen Webber agreed. He said he had the same question.
"Clearly you're going to come back to the wharf," said Warden Webber, noting the item in the policy is an attempt to keep people from going and coming all day. "I know why we said it but in a practical sense it's not workable."
Mr. Hennigar also questioned if it was feasible to permit a 24-hour tie-up limit to the side of a municipal wharf.
Under the new policy, commercial vessels, fishing boats, and vessels owned by the military, police or fire rescue services would be required to obtain a permit for extended stays at a wharf. However, recreational craft owners would not be permitted to apply for a permit for recreational craft.
Mr. Hennigar said boat owners who want a permit should be able to get a permit.
"We feel it should be open to anyone who owns a boat," said Mr. Hennigar, noting recreational boaters should be able to apply for an extended-stay permit for good reason.
Mr. Hennigar said all boaters want is a little input in the policy.
"Maybe if a couple of us could be involved ... to make it more workable for all of us," said Mr. Hennigar.
Warden Webber noted the policy was created because commercial fishermen have a need to use the wharf differently than recreational users.
At a later date, council will review the comments made by the recreational boaters.
posted on 07/19/11
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