News Alert!!: Needles, CA: Needles City Council approves letter of support to the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe opposing River Regatta and request an environmental impact study.
The recent 6 to 1 vote by members of the Bullhead City Council approving the sale of rights and property associated with the River Regatta event to Marnell Gaming came up for discussion during a Needles City Council and Needles Public Utility Authority Meeting held on Tuesday, October 24th, 2017 inside the Needles City Council Chambers in Needles, California.
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Needles City Council Member Shawn Gudmundson requested to place the Bullhead City Council voted to sell the rights and property associated with the Bullhead City River Regatta to Marnell Gaming on the Needles City Council agenda for discussion.
** More Information: Agenda Item #7: River Regatta: **
Needles City Council Member Shawn Gudmundson’s opinion on the matter is that the River Regatta has a detrimental effect on municipalities, river users, species downstream and agrees with the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe who opposes this River Regatta event.
According to Needles City Council Member Shawn Gudmundson, recent reports show that sales tax was up 8.3 percent for the City of Bullhead in comparison to last year without the regatta along with Casino gaming reports showing an increase of 2.5 million.
Needles City Council Member Shawn Gudmundson wants to preserve and protect the Colorado River, and ask the City of Bullhead and Marnell Gaming to do the right thing and proceed with an environmental impact study prior to the event.
After Needles City Council Member Shawn Gudmundson’s comments, Fort Mojave Indian Tribal Chairman Timothy Williams spoke during public appearance regarding the River Regatta.
Fort Mojave Indian Tribal Chairman Timothy Williams thanked Needles City Council Member Shawn Gudmundson and members of the Needles City Council for putting this matter on their agenda and for having the opportunity to speak on this matter.
Speaking about the vote made by members of the Bullhead City Council, Fort Mojave Indian Tribal Chairman Timothy Williams said, “You know it’s unfortunate but we can definitely use the City’s help. There’s a lot more steps that need to be taken in order for this Regatta to go forward. Although the City (Bullhead City) has voted for it with a 6 to 1 vote, there’s still is steps they need to take in order to have the River Regatta move forward. One is with the County – Mohave County – there’s a meadow there near Davis Dam. An addition to that also, the Coast Guard.”
Fort Mojave Indian Tribal Chairman Timothy Williams added, “We’re working with our friends over there at the B.I.A. (Bureau of Indian Affairs) in order to see what could be done also; when it comes to environmental reviews and upholding their trust responsibilities to the tribes.”
Fort Mojave Indian Tribal Chairman Timothy Williams talked about gaining enough support, including on social media and online petitions, opposing and stopping the River Regatta event.
Fort Mojave Indian Tribal Chairman Timothy Williams said that the reason for opposing and stopping the River Regatta event was because of the trash left behind.
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Pictures like the picture above of the trash along the shoreline of the Colorado River got national attention and lead to the cancellation of the River Regatta event in 2016.
Fort Mojave Indian Tribal Chairman Timothy Williams said, “Our main reasoning and what we seen is that you know the river is telling us something – that it’s too much. You know 30,000 people on the river, what’s propose right now is 22,000 people on the river, and a course we are all down river and that’s what comes down river, they’re trying to do as much they can with trash bags and other things like that, but you know you just can’t control that river, especially when it goes high; you all know in this room what it means when the river is low versus when the river is high and how much the river current changes, and all of the other things that take place.”
Fort Mojave Indian Tribal Chairman Timothy Williams then spoke about how the river is utilize traditional, including after the Spirit Run event last week.
“After our Spirit Run, we go down to there, we still cleanse ourselves in our traditional ways,” said Fort Mojave Indian Tribal Chairman Timothy Williams.
Members of the Bullhead City Council voted 6-1 to approve the deal with Marnell Gaming, owners of the Colorado Belle Casino and the Edgewater Casino in Laughlin, Nevada, to take over the River Regatta, including owning, operating, and managing the river float.
The vote occurred during the Bullhead City Council Meeting held on Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 in Bullhead City, Arizona.
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The purchase offer that was approved by members of the Bullhead City Council, costing $25,000, included coordinating with all federal, state and local agencies, assuming the fiscal responsibility required to promote and conduct the Regatta River, securing proper permitting, providing workforce services and marketing the event.
Marnell Gaming would take over operation of the River Regatta beginning in August 2018, and would limit the number of participants at 22,000 people.
If the River Regatta event is held in future years, the number of participants would not exceed 25,000 people.
The River Regatta event will be no large, decorated floats would be allowed.
Bullhead City would be reimbursed for all direct expenses, including all city employees assigned to work the event.
Marnell Gaming would be required to carry liability insurance for the River Regatta event acceptable to the city, and the city would be named in all liability releases.
Marnell Gaming also pledged a formal cleanup plan and to pre-fund and maintain a $100,000 river cleanup fund for use during and after the River Regatta event, with the remainder available for use at least twice during the year.
Additionally, participants of the River Regatta event would pay a $5 environmental fee to recharge the fund.
All launching for the River Regatta event would occur at Davis Camp, Harrah’s Casino and the Pioneer Casino, with the arrival point to be at Rotary Park.
Community Park would be closed for the River Regatta event to the public until the water safety zone ends; at that time, Community Park would be reopened to the public and water traffic would be allowed to head north.
Medical facilities at Rotary Park would be no less than what the city previously provided for the event.
Marnell Gaming also agreed to use the same inclement weather policy in cancelling the River Regatta event as the city.
Over 200 people filled the council chambers to capacity and dozens more watched the Bullhead City Council Meeting and the vote on televisions placed in the courtyard.
Bullhead City received an official request from Marnell Gaming in September 2017.
At the end of discussion, members of the Needles City Council unanimously voted to approved a letter of support for the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe supporting their opposing the river regatta and request an environmental impact study.
ZachNews is awaiting any responses from Bullhead City Officials and Marnell Gaming regarding the vote by members of the Needles City Council.
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