October 31, 1996

Hydro Racing Ban Cda Voters To Decide On Barring Hydroplanes

By The Spokesman-Review
 

It’s perhaps the most forgotten issue on the November ballot and the one that strikes closest to Coeur d’Alene.

Along with joining the fight over bear baiting, radioactive waste, taxes and term limits, Lake City residents will have final say on whether hydroplanes should race on Lake Coeur d’Alene.

Spawned in the fury over a proposal to revive the Diamond Cup races last winter, the initiative proposes stopping the boat races once and for all.

Promoters pushed the races as a way to bring big bucks, tourists and international television exposure to Coeur d’Alene over Labor Day weekend.

They said the crowd problems of the late 1950s and 1960s are gone, that this would be a family experience all of Coeur d’Alene can enjoy.

They pointed to the Tri-Cities area, which continues to entertain the boat crowd with some success.

Opponents see it as a disastrous revival of the decade-long run of hydro racing that was ejected after successive groups of people turned from spectators to rioters.

One of the biggest concerns, however, is that Tubbs Hill and the city beach would be cordoned off and turned into giant, admission-only grandstands.

Many people fear that Tubbs Hill’s fragile bluffs would be trashed.

They also don’t like the idea of losing the city side of Lake Coeur d’Alene to a commercial venture on the last weekend day of the year.

Opponents gathered enough signatures to get the measure on the ballot last spring. The Coeur d’Alene City Council decided not to act on the proposed ordinance, as the initiative law allows.

That moved the measure to the November ballot.

, DataTimes


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