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Port Moody will study whether to increase fees at Rocky Point boat launch

A recent project to dredge the navigation channel at the launch cost three times more than was originally budgeted.
Port Moody is going to study whether to raise fees for boaters to use the launch at Rocky Point Park after a recent dredging project cost three times what was originally budgeted.

Boaters who use the launch at Port Moody’s Rocky Point Park could be paying significantly higher fees.

But it won’t happen until at least next year.

Tuesday, council’s finance committee passed a resolution directing staff to look into a payment model that would have users cover 100 per cent of the costs to maintain and operate the launch.

Currently, boaters can purchase a day pass for $25 to launch their boat from the ramp at Rocky Point and park their vehicle and trailer.

An annual pass costs $177.75 plus tax for residents of Port Moody and Burnaby, while non-residents must pay $311.80.

According to Julie Pavey-Tomlinson, Port Moody’s director of environment and parks, those fees brought the city about $109,000 in 2021.

But dredging in February of the channel to ensure boats can navigate their way into Burrard Inlet and to prevent damage to the adjacent dock and pier cost the city $750,000 — triple the amount originally budgeted for the project that must be done every five or six years.

That’s because testing of the sediment to be removed discovered pollutants like dioxin and furan that need to be transported to a regulated disposal site rather than just dumped into deeper ocean waters.

Coun. Callan Morrison, who proposed the resolution, said current fees aren’t enough to cover the cost of the launch’s maintenance, especially if the polluted sediment persists, which is likely given the proximity of nearby industry like the Pacific Coast Terminals.

Morrison said Port Moody residents shouldn’t be subsidizing with their tax money the recreation activities of out-of-town boaters who use the only public launch on the southern shore of Burrard inlet.

Coun. Kyla Knowles said, “It’s time we look more closely at what we’re subsidizing.”

But a staff report cautioned Port Moody may have to run any proposed fee increases past Burnaby as well because of a 1984 agreement with that city to continue the provision of a boat launch service.

However, the report added, it’s unclear how long that agreement was to remain in effect.

Paul Rockwood, the city’s general manager of finance and technology, said any review of the boat launch fees would take staff until at least the summer, so any changes wouldn’t be able to be implemented until the 2024 budget.