OROVILLE – David Castillo appeared before the Oroville City Council requesting permission to move his jet ski rentals to Lake Osoyoos Veteran Park.
Castillo, who currently parks his equipment and trailers at the Quick Stop convenience store near the park entrance, asked if he could move the operation to the city’s park.
“To me the issue would be do we want to do boat and/or jet ski rentals,” said Chris Branch, director of community development.
Castillo said that even if he couldn’t park them at the park he would like to do the rest of his business there.
“To me it is important to do the instruction there in the water and not in a parking lot,” he said, adding that there is more to what he does than is required by the state.
Kathy Jones, city clerk, said that creating an ordinance that would cover vendors is a process that takes time and can’t be done overnight.
Councilman Tony Koepke suggested the city create a bidding process for rentals, taking the top two and that vendors should be sure and have a business license to do business within the city limits.
Branch said that the council could issue temporary permission while they further discuss an ordinance that would cover Castillo’s request.
“The other issue is that whenever we do anything at the park there is an insurance issue,” said Branch.
Jones said the city could have Castillo sign a hold harmless and that vendors usually pay a percentage to the city for doing business on city property.
“I’m not adverse to his business, obviously it is an asset to tourism,” said Councilwoman Neysa Roley.
Councilman Walt Hart added, “It’s not our intent to not have vendors in the park,”
Rod Noel, who heads up the city’s parks department, said he was most concerned about the liability aspect of allowing rentals from the city property.
“I think we need to run this by our risk management people… we need to have all our ducks in a row before we give the go ahead,” Noel said. “These things are accident prone and we need to find ourselves where they would not be a risk to the city.”
Castillo said that 90 percent of the accidents occur when the jet skis are put in and taken out of the water.
“I do not allow that… I take them there and I launch them,” he said.
Mayor Chuck Spieth, himself an insurance agent, asked Castillo if he rented to Canadians and what was to stop a Canadian crossing back across the border if they “hit a child or something?”
Castillo explained that once the jet skis were in the water they were no longer on the city property.
“We have the deep pockets… we have to be covered, I write personal watercraft policies and I know,” Spieth replied.
Castillo said it was different than when a person owns his own watercraft.
“That’s what I’m getting at… we are liable if we allow a business to take place in the park,” said Noel.
“David I do understand what you are trying to do, but until we are able to move on setting a policy I can’t see allowing the business to operate from the park,” said Mayor Spieth.
Branch said, “I was certainly not suggesting we give temporary permission until proper insurance was in place. I suggest we check with our insurers to find out for what amount.”
Rod Noel gave the council an update on the city’s efforts to find an ambulance to take the place of Unit 263 which was hit by a car and is out of commission while it is decided whether it can be repaired. The wreck left the EMS District with only one ambulance, the older Unit 264, and no back up.
“We actually were able to acquire a loaner from the Colville Tribes,” said Noel. “A contract was negotiated with the Tribe and they are loaning it to us at no cost to the city. Insurance will reimburse us for transportation here and any costs we need to get it operational.”
Noel said the Tribal representatives were very personable and always returned his calls and that he was grateful for the extra effort they went to.
“They said that we are all in the Okanogan County EMS Council group together and that we had to do all we could to help one another,” Noel said.
Mayor Spieth said the city needed to send a letter thanking the Colville Confederated Tribes for the loan of he ambulance.
“They really got us out of a bind,” Spieth said.
Debra Donahue, who made initial contact with the Tribe, said, “They pitched right in and to do it at no cost is phenomenal.”
Under new business, Oroville Police Chief Clay Warnstaff requested an ordinance to cover the “no wake zone” between Lake Osoyoos Veterans Park and Zosel Dam, which is under the city’s jurisdiction. The county’s no wake zone is from the buoys near the boat launch at Oroville’s Lake Osoyoos Veterans Memorial Park to the dam, but annexation has put the area under the city’s jurisdiction.
Warnstaff said he had received a complaint that morning of a fast boat moving between the park and the Cherry Street Bridge that was causing bank erosion.
“I think eventually we will need a boat like a Zodiac, not necessarily to chase around, but for rescues even on ice,” said Chief Warnstaff, referring to a brand of multipurpose rubber boat.
Branch said that he had looked at the county ordinance in the past and “peeled out” what the city could use.
“The area south of the park is a no wake zone. It looks pretty easy to make an ordinance, I’ll give it to Clay as a draft he can add to,” said Branch, a former member of the U.S. Coast Guard. “A Zodiac is a real practical boat. I’ll talk to the mayor of Okanogan who worked for the county to get their last boat.”
Warnstaff also gave an update on recent break-ins at two businesses and a residence.
“We just solved two of those and those guys are gone, we’re working on another one,” he said. “We also recently had someone get up on the high school and took the ‘Oroville’ off the top of the building.”
That incident was caught on video and the suspect has been identified.
The police chief said juveniles have committed most of the incidents. He said that if his officers see a juvenile out after curfew their parents are contacted and if that doesn’t solve the problem a ticket is issued.
“We can’t prevent these incidents, what we can do is educate people about locking their doors, not leaving items near windows where they can be seen and taking their keys out of their cars,” Warnstaff said, adding that he didn’t lock his own home until about five years ago.
“Schools out and we get a rash of these things during the summer time,” he said.