Friday, July 24, 2020

City Councillor looks to reel in unlicensed fishing charter operators

The large volume of sports fishermen in town, many of the operators from out
of town, caught the attention of Councillor Barry Cunningham this week

Concerns over local sports fishing charters,  a theme  that Prince Rupert City Councillor Barry Cunningham has raised in years past was reintroduced to City Council on Monday night.

That as Mr. Cunningham made note of the large volume of out of town boat trailers at the Rushbrook Floats lot and along neighbouring streets,

The Councillors concerns related to the out of town sports fishing charter operators morphed out of the larger discussion on COVID concerns in the region that started with the thoughts of Prince Rupert resident during the Committee of the Whole session, with Mr. Cunningham expanding on that conversation to return to the topic he has raised a number of times in the past during his time on Council.

Monday's focus for the Councillor was his concern that local charter operators had voluntarily delayed their season in response to the city's concerns over COVID earlier this year and now are watching as out of town operators take to the water while they remain at the dock.

"Can our bylaw officers, or is it the health inspector or whoever, look into this. I know WorkSafe BC on the last conference call I had, if they get a complaint then they will come down and look at the Sports fisherman and things like this because there's no social distancing on these boats.

Our local sports fishermen decided in the beginning that they weren't going to take on any charters to at least the end of July and yet we see a lot of out of town people now chartering and that. And I just don't think it's fair to our charter operators that they're behind the eight ball and losing some of their customers to people from out of town, because they'll just keep on chartering"

Mr. Cunningham also enquired as to the provisions for out of town Charter Operators who may be operating in the area and using Prince Rupert docks to pick up and drop off customers.

"So who enforces business licences with these out of town operators if they're taking out charters, cause I know some of them through Transport Canada, has checked them and they don't have a business licence"

Towards an answer for Mr. Cunningham, Corporate Administrator Rosa Miller noted that any concerns on out of town charter or other business providers should be addressed to the City Hall office for follow up.

"If there are people operating a business within the municipality that do not have a business licence please contact City Hall, and we will look into it. We have no control over what happens in Federal Water but we can certainly look into the business licence issue."

Councillor Cunningham's final comment on the topic was to note how those fishing in the waters around the city were conducting business in the city and should follow civic rules.

"Well, if they're picking up their customers in Prince Rupert at one of our docks, then I think they're conducting a business in Prince Rupert and not in Federal waters They're taking the customer from Prince Rupert out and then returning them, and these customers are staying in the community, they're not leaving right away.

You know I've gone into Safeway and Overwaitea and seen two or three Alberta plates in there and things like that. It's not that I want to discourage these people from coming, cause we need them as tourists and that. But at the same time I would like them to respect the rules, and social distance and things like this, it's just common sense"

The full discussion is available for review from the City's Video Archive, starting at the 56 minute mark.

For more notes related to the Monday Council session see our Council Timeline Feature.

Further discussion themes from City Council can be explored from our Council Discussion archive.

1 comment:

  1. In answer to Barry's question, bylaw officers are authorized by the Province to monitor, inform and warn people within city limits and if necessary report non-compliance to health officers for enforcement actions. But the administration does not seem to be interested in being that proactive. It appears that they'd rather not answer his question.