Mike Bjorge shows a $200 ticket he received in Crescent Beach.

Paddleboard vendor makes waves over City of Surrey’s strategy

Pilot project draws ire of rental businesses operating out of Crescent Beach

A pilot project aimed at regulating paddleboard and kayak rentals in Crescent Beach has drawn the ire of local rental companies that have been forced from the area.

The project went into effect this summer and allows just one vendor, Squamish-based Sea to Sky Adventure Company, to rent paddleboards and kayaks to beach-goers.

The City of Surrey cites safety concerns as the main reason for the change, which has left a handful of local companies out of the water.

There have not been any recent incidents surrounding the local paddleboard and kayaking scene, Coun. Barinder Rasode said, but added that the city wants “to get out in front of the issue.”

“We like to do our due diligence on these things,” she told Peace Arch News Friday.

The operator of one local rental company disputes the idea that the recent change is driven by safety concerns, instead suggesting the project is financially driven.

“If it really is for safety, well this (industry) has been operating down here for 20 years, so I just don’t buy it,” said Mike Bjorge.

Bjorge, owner of Surrey-based 108 SUP Works, noted his company had all the necessary insurance as well as Paddle Canada certification.

“They basically just picked the company that would give them the most money and then disallowed the rest of us any access to the water. It’s a monopoly.”

While not disclosing the exact details of why Sea to Sky Adventures was chosen to operate in the area, Tim Neufeld, the City of Surrey’s acting manager of parks, said the company met a number of criteria, including financial requirements and liability insurance.

“For this pilot project, it just made the most sense,” he said.

According to both Rasode and Neufeld, city staff examined how other cities – namely White Rock and Vancouver – handle the same issue, before launching the pilot.

Bjorge also took issue with the city’s enforcement. Earlier this month, after he was ticketed $200 for operating in Blackie Spit, he moved his operation down the beach where, he says, he was met with three bylaw officers who presented him with a pre-written ticket.

“They told me they didn’t know exactly why they were there to give it to me but that they were just doing their jobs,” he said.

Bjorge, a member of the Surrey Sailing Club operating out of Blackie Spit, also claims the city threatened to pull the club’s lease if 108 SUP Works signs remained on its building.

“The enforcement has just been extreme,” Bjorge said.

Bjorge questioned why the city would hurt businesses, adding he doubts out-of-town vendors have as much knowledge of the local waters as he and other operators.

Rasode said it’s “not at all our intention” to shut down any businesses, and that the project would be reviewed at the end of its run in the fall of 2014.

At that time, she said, it’s possible that the project will be opened up to more vendors.

“It’s definitely a difficult situation, but we’ve heard loud and clear from them,” Rasode said, when asked about the reaction from companies such as Bjorge’s.

Peace Arch News’ attempts to reach other rental companies in the area were unsuccessful.

Just Posted

Delta mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

White Rock dog poop conspiracy picks up steam

Opponent says theory is a ‘load of crap’

Surrey MLA slams NDP poverty reduction strategy plan

Liberal MLA Marvin Hunt says the NDP’s poverty reduction plan is ‘underwhelming’

Father thanks Surrey Mountie for shooting hoops with kids, ‘changing perspectives’

‘We’re just like everyone else,’ says Surrey officer who stopped to play basketball with kids

Surrey Memorial is first in B.C. with POEM machine used for endoscopic treatment

Surgeon says equipment is ‘next-level, futuristic-type’

Five highlights in the 2019 federal budget

Latest budget includes a sprinkling of money for voters across a wide spectrum

Facebook to overhaul ad targeting to prevent discrimination

The company is also paying about $5 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees and other costs

Teacher reprimanded after incident with Grade 11 student in school gym

Gregory Norman Brock was teaching at a high school in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District

Explosives unit brought in after suspicious boxes left at B.C. RCMP detachment

Nanaimo RCMP issues all clear after packages were found on lawn earlier in the day

Avalanche control tomorrow on Highway 1

Expect closures of up to two hours east of Revelstoke

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than illicit fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants

Kids found playing darts with syringes in Vancouver Island park

Saanich police is urging people to throw out their syringes properly and safely

Most Read

l -->