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Both boat launches will operate in Wellington

Two boat launches will be operating in Wellington for the remainder of the summer, but council wants to see a comprehensive plan for long-term solution to address the launches, marinas and Wellington Beach before the 2021 season.

Councillors agreed in a 10-4 vote to open the Wellington Beach launch at Tuesday night’s meeting to help alleviate traffic and parking issues – especially on weekends.

Council was presented with three options – to close both launches; operate both at a limited capacity, or close the Belleville Street launch and reopen the Wellington Beach launch to all watercraft (currently motorized not allowed).

Closing both launches was dismissed with special note to the Wellington Rescue Association which would no longer be able to perform rapid response and rescue operations. Closing the Belleville Street launch was dismissed as the already high-traffic beach launch would be further overwhelmed.

Traffic (people and vehicles) congestion at the Belleville Street launch, has moved from staff collecting launch fees, to now include traffic management, customer service and dealing with concerns from neighbours and businesses.

While more parking exists at the Wellington Beach Launch, it is limited and serves both beach goers and boaters. Earlier this month, council supported charging $20 for parking for beach users on weekends and holidays as means of managing crowding.

Wellington councillor Mike Harper said traffic volume during the week is manageable, but noted staff have seen 100-200 boats in a weekend. Closing one launch, he said, may also push boaters to clog other launches.

Councillor Janice Maynard was concerned about it being a week-long problem as people use it as “a back door to get the Sandbanks”.

Access to the launches is to be on a first-come, first-served basis. A maximum of 12 to 15 boats and trailers would be parking at Wellington Beach.

Councillor Jamie Forrester called the decision a reactionary mode that won’t solve the problems, but stated opening both boat launches is a starting point, for a quick fix. He wants to see a task team with councillors to understand correct procedure for next spring.

A limited number of seasonal launch pass holders ($80) would be permitted to access the beach launch and use the parking. The pass allows unlimted boat launches at County-owned sites

Staff is currently negotiating an agreement with Tenacity Capital to assume operations of the Belleville Street boat launch and marina but felt it unlikely that any agreement would resolve this year’s challenges.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. gilles says:

    It’s time for The County to get out of the business of boat launches and marinas. The County can ill afford the costs associated with maintaining these facilities, let alone staffing them. The logistics at both Wellington beaches compel seeking a new and better site. Turn the launches and marinas over to the private sector.

  2. Dennis Fox says:

    I know that in the course of human events the boat launch at Northport is a non issue – but it shouldn’t be. The Northport launch was destroyed over 3 years ago – after writing to COuncil for a couple of years,I was told 2 years ago that over $90K was approved in the budget for repairs. The launch still sits broken and useless. Never mind accommodating the tourists – how about all us locals that would like to use it? I’m afraid to think of what might have happened to the approved $90K????

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