Boat Docks Sinking?

Two proposed boat docks at the mouth of the Spokane River, comprising part of the city’s comprehensive plan and Four Corner’s master plan, are on the chopping block. Bill Greenwood, Coeur d’Alene Parks director, presented the names of two businesses selected to build, maintain, and manage the docks while leasing riparian rights from the city. The General Services Public Works Committee declined to approve but will discuss and vote on the proposal at the next city council meeting, June 7, 2022. 

Kiki Miller was the most vocal opponent. She acknowledged a “ton of work” by Greenwood and previously voted for him to submit a Request For Proposals. Three local businesses submitted bids and were scored by Monte McCully, Scott Cranston, and Bill Greenwood. 

In spite of unanimous approval by the Parks Commission, Miller balked at awarding the bids to the selected businesses. She shared her rationale as follows:

  • This is not what the locals want
  • This doesn’t help locals with access to the water
  • This only helps the “Haves” and not the “Have Nots”
  • She would like to see a percentage of the slips get rented out to locals via lottery 
  • The plan does not limit commercial operators using the boat launches
  • People already have boat rental options 
  • A non-motorized water trail is not included in the proposal 

Proponents of the project indicate:

  • Reduced traffic and risk at the 3rd Street boat launch as the greatest benefit and stated that 
  • Renters can be tracked via GPS and encouraged to avoid the congested river. 
  • Reduced traffic congestion “in town” as the rental companies will not have to go back and forth through town as they deliver boats
  • Public access increases especially for those who cannot afford purchasing a boat but can rent one
  • Increases safety due to the strict no alcohol for drivers rental policy
  • A non-motorized water trail is not part of the RFP.

Dan Gookin referred to the docks as “a great idea” but a “political hot potato,” and cited an “[eye opening email from county commissioner Chris Fillios].” He asked the matter to go to Council. Side note: Fillios recently lost his bid for reelection by a landslide, garnering 30% of the vote while his opponent Bruce Mattare won with 70%.

Boat Dock Vendors Selected

The Parks and Rec Commission approved the selection of KJ Watersports and Hayden Paddle Board and Jet Ski as recommended by the RFP selection committee. Impressively, bids of twenty and thirty thousand per year for five years were received, netting the city an extra $20,000 per year. 

Concerned parties worry about safety and increased river traffic. Christie Wood brought up a point that the Sheriff’s office may not be enforcing laws governing use of the Spokane River. The proposed location of the docks is in a “No wake” zone. Both companies will be encouraging boaters to go to the lake rather than the river. Parks and Rec member Ginny Tate discussed concerns with the Sheriff’s office. Reportedly 50% of boaters believe there are too many restrictions on the river and 50% want more restrictions. Docks were present at this location when Tate was a child and it is nostalgic to see them return. 

Sentiment was expressed that Idaho waterways belong to all of her residents and should include equal access to the lake. Groups opposing the project seem to want that “[Only people who have a house on the river get to enjoy the river].” Kevin Prather of KJ Watersports estimated 30% of his renters are local and mentioned their zero alcohol policy for drivers.

The commission, composed of seven volunteers and one elected official–Christie Wood from the city council, unanimously approved the selection of vendors. GS/PW will vote to place in the consent calendar or create an agenda item. City council will ultimately decide at the June 7th meeting.