Increased Boat Traffic Leads to Potential User Conflicts
By Dennis Rahm
While there has been much discussion of late about the water quality of Lake Chelan, one Chelan City Council member is also expressing concerns about water safety.
Councilman Tim Hollingsworth notes “the past several years have seen a dramatic increase in boat traffic in the lower basin of the lake adjacent to the city”.
Hollingsworth has noticed a growth of activity on the lake over the years and says, “the last few years has really gotten to be kind of a wild west atmosphere in areas adjacent to parks and resorts”.
He is concerned about potential user conflict and feels one solution would be to extend the no wake buoy line approximately 650 yards uplake to the westerly limit of Spader Bay. Hollingsworth feels there is a consensus to move towards more discussion on ways to improve safety on the lake and he would like to see action taken as quickly as possible noting he would like to see Council and staff consider the buoy line extension along with other possible improvements to safety concerns.
He is also in favor of enforcing the existing prohibition of the anchoring and rafting of boats in the Chelan River between the old bridge and the dam. Noting the City drinking water is drawn from this channel, he is concerned that prolonged anchorage of boats is at odds with the priorities of open use and navigation as well as drinking water purity. Hollingsworth feels the existing code has some language that is unclear and that it should be reviewed and updated. He would also like to see better enforcement of existing watercraft rental codes. He feels the code could be simplified to aid in better enforcement.
The City Councilman feels strongly that the use of the lake near town needs to be open to all, fair to all, and most importantly safe for everyone. This includes swimmers, power boaters, kayakers, paddleboarders and those playing on the beach.
Hollingsworth would like to hear from the public with any concerns or comments. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.