Renegade Bass gets boat launch fees waived again

South Dundas Coun. Archie Mellan votes against waiving launch fees for a fishing tournament on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 in Morrisburg, Ont. The motion still passed, meaning the Renegade Bass tournament will have participants push off at the Morrisburg marina for free. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

MORRISBURG – A popular bass fishing tournament has hooked in another year of having its contestants cast off for free in South Dundas.

The municipal council voted last week to waive the launch fees for the Renegade Bass Fishing Tournament – even though the request came in last minute.

“Unfortunately, I forgot to request Council’s approval to waive the launch fees for the event,” Geraldine Fitzsimmons, South Dundas Chamber of Commerce administrator, wrote in a July 5 email.

The tournament is Aug. 19-20, 2017 in Morrisburg.

But not everybody is happy about it.

“I’m a little uncomfortable waiving the launch fees for this bass tournament,” Coun. Archie Mellan said. “I realize there’s an economic benefit…I do have a problem that we waive the launch fees for two days for a bass tournament yet we’re still collecting from the local residents.”

Mellan accepted the oversight on the chamber’s part.

Coun. Bill Ewing agreed. “It’s nice that they come in but this is pretty much all corporate. I heard that they pay for their docking fee (launch fee) in their registration,” he said.

“If we pay for it, the flak is going to start again,” Ewing added.

Last year, it amounted to roughly $1,920.

Coun. Marc St. Pierre pointed to a bass tournament in Waddington, N.Y. where a four day competition sees people “spend hundreds of thousands of dollars there and we’re squabbling about a few hundred bucks? Come on.”

Deputy Mayor Jim Locke said the municipality has set a precedent by waiving the charges the last two years.

The issue of launch fees will be studied later this year as the municipality undertakes a fees and services review.