It wouldn’t be summer without a council session in the Municipality of South Dundas spent debating the merits of providing free boat launching for professional fishermen leaving from Morrisburg’s dock.
Yes, every season the Renegade Bass Tour makes its way to the Seaway village, with this year’s events set for Sat., Aug. 19 and Sun., Aug. 20.
The Morrisburg-based qualifiers lead to a much bigger fishing spree later in the summer.
It’s a welcome event, which takes place at an otherwise slow point in the season and packs in the crowds into the waterfront area of the village.
More than a boon to economic development, it keeps Morrisburg’s spectacular waterfront location on the frontburner for those fishing, and others looking for a retreat. It also highlights the rich fishing prospects that do exist in the area, given that the competition is steep provincewide.
No, the trouble is something else.
A factor that draws the ire of countless residents, yet seems to be missing from the radar of the municipality’s elected officials.
Every year is the same. The South Dundas Chamber of Commerce conveniently forgets to make its request for the removal of boating launch fees charged to tournament participants.
It’s a nominal fee, and one that is in place for anyone else departing from the Morrisburg location. Yet, professional fishermen with significant sponsorship backing can go forth for free.
The chamber’s last minute request, at a time when council meets just once a month, is clearly intentional and serves to limit debate among the politicians.
Of all the discussions at the council table, this is surely one of the least impact, but it is the message sent that sparks the questioning.
Both the chamber’s leadership and certain politicians argue that waiving boat-launching fees is an attractive incentive to offer.
Should local restaurants then offer free meals to the fishermen? Or should gas stations remove gas fees for all those needing to operate their watercraft?
It is a silly debate to be having, and it is even more ridiculous that the muncipality’s chamber of commerce prompts it every summer.
Keep the launch fees in place, or remove them for everyone.
The fish will be biting (or won’t) just the same.