Kayaks, paddleboards coming to Lake Tapps

This summer could potentially be one of Lake Tapps’ busiest years as Bonney Lake is now contracting with a new concessions stand and water sports rental business.

Kayaks and paddleboards will soon be able to be rented from the Allan Yorke Park concession stand. Photo by Ray Still

This summer could potentially be one of Lake Tapps’ busiest years as Bonney Lake is now contracting with a new concessions stand and water sports rental business.

The City Council unanimously approved a three-year contract with Ruston Recreational Rentals during the April 11 meeting.

“I’m looking forward to serving your community and maybe hiring some of your young people to help them,” co-owner Don Torbet said at the meeting. “I’m getting pretty old to lift this stuff.”

According to the corresponding resolution, the city consistently lost money on other concession agreements when not enough revenue was generated to cover the city’s costs.

For the last ten years, concessions at the park has been run by the Bonney Lake Food Bank.

Because the food bank is a non-profit, the city did not charge them for operating concessions, but that also means the city was not being reimbursed.

And even before the food bank took over concessions, the city was losing money.

“Nobody was able to make enough,” said Gary Leaf, the city’s special project manager. “It’s cost us on average $3,000 a year.”

Leaf said the city’s Parks Commission noticed a lack of activity at the park last summer and wanted to find a new concessionaire who could also rent out kayaks or paddle boards to draw in more visitors.

Gary approached the city of Tacoma for recommendations, and they pointed him straight to Torbet.

Torbet and his wife Beth have been running a sea kayak business since 1998 in Ruston and has been serving the Owen Beach area at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma since 1999.

In a letter to the city, Torbet said more than 6000 people rented paddle boards from them in 2016.

The city expects to bring in between $3,000 to $5,000 from this venture.

“If anybody can make it, it’ll be this fellow,” Leaf said.

According to his contract with the city, Torbet has to be open and operating by Memorial Day, but he said in a phone interview that he wants to be open as soon as possible, and is aiming for April 22.

Besides the concessions, which are likely to include hot dogs, water, soda, chips and frozen desserts, Torbet said he’ll be starting with 20 kayaks and four paddleboards.

“And if they go fast, I’ll just buy more,” he said.

More in News

Taxing district was independent, now part of city government

In a move that was philosophically opposed by a pair of council members, the city of Enumclaw has taken control of the local Transportation Benefit District. The move may not be noticeable to the general public, as the collection and distribution of money should be unchanged. Also, the people controlling the dollars and cents remain the same.

Wilbanks wins close Buckley race

It took a month, but Luke Wilbanks finally knows he’ll be occupying a seat on the Buckley City Council.

Smooth holiday travel requires planning, patience | Department of Transportation

No matter what your holiday plans, being prepared for winter conditions and holiday traffic will help make your trip smoother. The Washington State Department of Transportation urges all travelers to “know before you go” and plan ahead for smoother travel.

Pierce County burn ban lifted | Puget Sound Clean Air Agency Update

The weather may be getting colder, but burn bans have been called for multiple counties due to deteriorating air quality.

Local authors publish their first novels

Sometimes, you just can’t get an idea out of your head. For two local authors, this certainly has been the case. Since they were kids, James Peet of Enumclaw and Tommy Rice of Bonney Lake had some ideas in their heads, ones that never quite left them, even as they grew older, got jobs, and settled down with their wives and kids of their own.

Scammers posing as the State Supreme Court Clerk | Office of the Attorney General

Scammers are posing as the Washington State Supreme Court Clerk to call Washingtonians to demand money and threaten arrest. The fraudulent calls have so far targeted individuals with Hispanic last names.

Enumclaw’s Van Hulse to compete in national music showcase

Erik Van Hulse, who also goes by his stage name Siboh Nisoh, has been working toward this big break for almost as long as he can remember.

Kiwanis honor four as Students of the Month

Members of the Buckley Kiwanis Club honored a trio of “Students of the Month” during an Nov. 16 gathering.

Pepper addresses ‘false’ recall charges in community meeting

The meeting, held at the Black Diamond library, was a chance for voters to have “an opportunity to hear from both sides before they decide to sign,” the recall petition, Pepper wrote in an announcement for the meeting.

Most Read