Monday, March 20, 2023

WAKES: Common sense needed

| May 30, 2021 1:00 AM

I’ve lived on the Spokane River for 22 years.

During that time, I served on the Spokane River Association for seven years and its president for four. Things were different back then.

Our objectives included removing more than 2,000 old and dangerous river pilings from the lumber mills and ensuring FERC’s 50-year relicensing agreement left river surface levels at 2,128 feet for as long as possible during the summer months.

Respecting our neighbor’s property and the safety of their family members were a given.

The handful of wake boat owners who now reside on the river are complaining that their “right” to generate excessive wakes were taken away when the County Commissioners eliminated the short-termed and ill-advised 150-foot no-wake rule, and simply re-enforced the longstanding NO EXCESSIVE WAKE ordinance that has been on the books for as long as I can remember.

You can’t take away something you never had. No boat, regardless of size or motive, was ever permitted to create an “excessive wake” in the Spokane River, because large waves can be dangerous and cause property damage to other riverfront owners. It’s not that difficult to understand.

Furthermore, the No Excessive Wake ordinance doesn’t mean wake boat owners can’t operate their boats on the Spokane River. They can. And “plowing water” to generate artificial large wakes is still allowed on Lake Coeur d’Alene.

As the population of our beautiful area continues to grow, we simply must use common sense regarding the safety of its citizens.


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