The slow, no-wake hours on the Wolf River in Fremont will increase next boating season.
The Fremont Village Board voted 4-3 at its Oct. 12 meeting to amend the slow, no-wake ordinance, changing the starting time from midnight on Fridays to noon on Fridays.
The slow, no wake is in effect in the village until midnight on Sundays.
When asked after the meeting when the amended ordinance will go into effect, village President Dan Sambs said that the buoys are already out of the river for the remainder of this year, so the change will go into effect at the beginning of the next boating season.
Before the board voted on the proposed amendment, Sambs said, “We’ve all been talking about it for more than 2 1/2 years. In 1973, I moved to town. They were talking about it then. I’d like to see us try it this way for awhile and see what happens.”
Voting to amend the village’s ordinance were Sambs and village trustees Kathy Gaynor, Randy Hofstetter and Denis Scharine.
Village trustees Rick Coenen, Per Dobbe and John Kohl III voted no.
The last time the proposed ordinance amendment had been before the village board for such a vote was in April 2009. That vote resulted in a tie, killing the proposed amendment.
The April 2009 vote followed the Nov. 4, 2008, advisory referendum in which village voters were asked whether the ordinance should be amended.
The advisory referendum passed with a vote of 253-153.
During the board’s Oct. 12 meeting, Dobbe, who was elected to his first term as a village trustee this past April, said he voted to amend the ordinance when the advisory referendum was held.
However, since then, his opinion has changed.
Dobbe said voting to amend the ordinance goes against how he would like to see the village grow.
He also said that in the past, amending the ordinance was discussed in conjunction with the towns of Fremont and Wolf River.
There have been no accidents on the river, Dobbe said, noting that he would like to see more education and more patrols of the river, particularly around busy holidays.
Coenen said boat traffic does get heavy on weekends and that increasing the slow, no-wake hours on the Wolf River will result in boaters heading a different direction, thus affecting downtown businesses.
“The majority of the boat traffic does respect the no wake,” he said. “It’s just a handful we’re dealing with.”
Kohl said he does not think additional slow, no-wake hours are necessary on Fridays.
Sambs said he recently talked to a fisherman at Blue Top Resort.
“The comment from him was unsolicited,” Sambs said before saying that the man asked him what time the slow, no wake begins on Fridays.
When Sambs told him that it started at midnight, the fisherman told Sambs that it needed to change.
“That was a very unhappy person, so it is not just businesses and property owners,” he said.