Renegade Bass invoice waived; lone councillor bothered by ‘free ride’ for professional fishers

In this July 2017, file photo, South Dundas Coun. Archie Mellan votes against waiving launch fees for the Renegade Bass fishing tournament. The councillor is bothered by anglers getting a 'free ride' of municipal facilities while taxpayers have to pay to use the boat launch. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

MORRISBURG – Organizers of the Renegade Bass fishing tournament can rip up a $960 invoice for launch fees.

South Dundas council waived the fees for a tournament in July but a second stop in Morrisburg happened in September which hadn’t been expected. The second event didn’t come back to council as a request from the South Dundas Chamber of Commerce.

The decision by South Dundas council last week to waive the second set of launch fees didn’t come without a fierce tongue-lashing by one of its outspoken critics.

“Absolutely not. I’m sorry. We put a lot of money into that dock ($230,000). We put a lot of money into that boat ramp ($70,000). Taxpayers money. We are charging our own citizens. We’re going to give up $1,000 worth of launch fees,” Mellan said.

The boating facility brings in about $10,000 a year. The councillor says the organizers of Renegade Bass had enough time to figure out they needed to make another request to council.

“If I’m going to charge somebody down the street with a 12 foot runabout to take their kids out fishing, I am not going to give somebody a free ride to come as a professional fisherman and go out and use our facilities for nothing. I won’t support this. I never have and I never will,” Mellan said.

Mellan was the only council member to vote against waiving the fees.

Deputy Mayor Jim Locke said he would like the new council to set a policy so the issue doesn’t have to come back to council every time.