A potential dock shuffle on the waterfront has turned into a kerfuffle between two Gig Harbor organizations.
The Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Club is looking to move to another dock in the city. A potential move to Eddon Boat Dock has upset members of Gig Harbor Boat Shop, who feel the dock cannot support two tenants.
At the March 9 Gig Harbor City Council meeting, members of the boat shop took to the microphone to share their concern. The comments came up in the public comments section, and were not part of the official meeting agenda.
City Administrator Ron Williams said the long-term plan is to place the club at a renovated Ancich Netshed and upland park, but that project is currently seeking a grant.
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The club will eventually need a better place to operate than out of Skansie, but that better place is “still kind of up in the air,” Williams said.
Boat Shop president Guy Hoppen said he and others found out about the relocation through hearsay. The “insular process” has deviated board time, and the organization is unclear why and how the move is happening.
Hoppen urged the council to honor the 20-year lease of the dock to the boat shop. He said the “good faith intent” of the lease language is to keep the dock a one-organization operation.
“The Eddon Boatyard site cannot support two robust organizations,” Hoppen told the council.
The Canoe and Kayak Club is currently located at Skansie Park and uses Jerisich Dock. It continues to grow and develop athletes. Canoe and Kayak Club volunteer Richard Pifer said the location at the Eddon Boat dock would be temporary.
“What we are looking for is a place for the (club) to grow,” said Richard Pifer, a volunteer for the canoe and kayak club.
He believes the boathouse on the location is not being fully utilized and would be a good place to store kayaks. Hoppen disagrees.
“Squeezing another organization onto the Boatyard site will remove the public’s access to the dock, ramp and float for large swaths of time,” Hoppen said in a letter to the furthercouncil. “It removes public use to the main floor of the house indefinitely, and will negatively impact community use of Eddon Boat Park due to traffic and parking issues.”
Pifer wasn’t at the council meeting, saying he had no idea that there would be extensive public comment on the dock move.
Safety issues also motivate the switch, Pifer said, as the club would like to move paddlers away from the busy Jerisich Dock. He believes that locating further down the harbor would prevent traffic issues with larger boats.
The city is currently coordinating a meeting between boat shop and club representatives.