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Boaters and tour boat operators win Barr’s Bay dock time limit fight

Boaters will be able to dock at Hamilton’s Barr’s Bay Park for free after a City Hall rule change.

Hinson’s Island residents and tour boat operators had complained at the lack of a place to dock for shopping trips and other brief calls, Hamilton Deputy Mayor Glen Smith told a City meeting.

A 15-minute limit on mooring at Hamilton’s waterfront was put in place earlier this summer, with police ticketing offending boats.

The shallow corner at the western end of Barr’s Bay can now accommodate small boats for free, the meeting heard.

Mayor Charles Gosling said: “We want to address the informal use by residents and by tour boat operators, and encourage the occasional yacht to come into Hamilton. There will be four ties that might take eight to 12 dinghies. It’s all about opening up the waterfront.”

The proposal was approved by the meeting. If it proves successful, tour boat operators will be allowed to sponsor their own floating dock in the area.

The move was welcomed by president of the Tour Boat Operators Association, Mike Gladwin.

“The Corporation has been very diligent and obliging with our wish list, which is part of the reason why our membership has proposed sponsoring the floating dock,” Mr Gladwin said.

Calling the dispute over the 15-minute limit “a big misunderstanding”, Mr Gladwin said the rules had quickly been relaxed after their implementation this summer.

“We met with the Corporation over the summer, and they amended the rule so that tour boat operators got an hour to dock at every Corporation dock in Hamilton.

“That’s more than ample time for us to do our business at the dock,” he said. “We welcome the extra policing of our Hamilton docks. Bringing in free mooring at Barr’s Bay is just another positive step.”

The news was also well received by Hinson’s islanders.

“We’re very grateful for this,” said Melony Kendell of the Hinson’s Island Residents Association. “This gives us a lot more flexibility in running errands in town. Not everybody has the means to be a member of a boat club.”

A second resident, Denise Hansford-Smith, agreed.

“Our biggest problem was when they went to the new ferry schedule, it often meant you couldn’t get back to Hinson Island unless you had a mooring at the yacht club to take your boat,” she said, referring to cutbacks in the Pink Route ferry at the start of the summer, in which many stops were axed.

With ferries now running until 12pm, the situation had become easier for her and her neighbours, she added.

“It’s a great idea,” said islander Terry Pimental. “I have my own berth in Hamilton, but for people who don’t it will come in very handy. It’ll be useful for anybody out boating. If people are out at Paradise Lakes and decide they want to stop in town, they can stop in and head back out.

“I don’t see any downside to it, unless they end up with a scramble for spaces.”

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Published September 16, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated September 16, 2011 at 9:27 am)

Boaters and tour boat operators win Barr’s Bay dock time limit fight

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