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Slip Holders from Camp Branch Marina Meet With Clay County Staff

Late last week we found out that Don Milum and Cory Booth, citizens that brought concerns and accusations of neglect at Camp Branch Marina to the County Commission last Tuesday, met with two Clay County administrators, an electrical contractor, and a maintenance supervisor on Friday.

Here is what Mr. Milum had to say to members of the Smithville Lake Boaters Group on Facebook about the results of the discussions on Friday:


1. Temporary walkway repairs have been made between C and D Docks, provides safe passage. No more shuttle service required!

2. Water service has been restored.

3. New dock carts have been ordered for all three locations.

4. A process was established to voice other concerns in a written manner that will provide a means of tracking and follow-up.

5. Plans in work for a number of pavers to be upgraded at all three docks – timing not clear at this point (more pressing topics to discuss during the limited time we had).

Areas of continued concern:

1. Still no electrical service on the docks at Camp Branch – several modifications are required to bring the entire electrical network into compliance with current codes. It was fine from a code perspective prior to damage in that the network met the codes in effect at that time. Now that new work is required things need to be addressed. I am personally all in for adherence to codes and things need to be as they say “ship shape”, especially when it comes to electrical, let alone when you add wet/water locations. Just looking for more manpower to be applied to help move it along quicker!!!

2. Following us sharing why power was needed for much more than cooking hot dogs, they agreed to take a look at how they might be able to bring some power on in a temporary fashion and quickly. Very much appreciated if successful.

3. Aerators are still laying around and deployed in slips – they stated they would be taking action quickly to address this.

4. Many of the damaged dock pavers are still in place, and several damaged ones are still laying on walkways – didn’t have time to check all but certainly the ones on the courtesy/gas dock with large holes are still in need of replacement.

5. They are still working with multiple dock builders in attempt to find the best overall solution – some have enormous lead-times – think months. They are looking for the correct balance between time, quality, and cost.

This is where additional concerns for restoring electrical service came in. Indications were they would like to bring electrical service back on line when the new dock pieces are installed due to wiring routing efforts. In addition to the obvious safety concerns whether it be in walking or docking in the pitch dark, Cory and I shared with them the critical need for many of the larger vessels to have power.

Larger vessels have many sub systems that simply cannot be shut down unless the vessel is dry docked. Think active fire monitoring and suppression systems in below deck engine rooms, carbon monoxide detectors, bilge pumps, emergency lighting, explosive fume evacuation systems, multi-bank battery chargers to keep as many as six batteries online to support the needs of these systems and the list goes on. Having a little more understanding of these items, they committed to look for near term temporary solutions.


1. There were a number of smaller items discussed and the group appeared genuine in addressing them quickly.

2. We agreed to meet again late next week to discuss progress and actually perform a dock walk together.

3. While it takes formal action from the board to appoint a formal steering committee we are free to establish our own. Long term, it seems prudent to ask the board to appoint one. For now, it would be very helpful if someone from the docks at Little Platte would be willing to step up and join in so we can capture the needs from there. We seem to have a strong voice from sailboat cove with Terri Welk on point, to which I would say thank you.

Clear short term priorities as we see them:

1. Inspect all dock anchoring systems and replace as needed to avoid additional breakaways – we are in fact in storm season so this is critically important to act upon

2. Replace broken pavers on all docks – walkway safety

3. Restore electrical power, even temporarily – support large vessel required safety systems, improves walkway safety, and docking safety

I’ll close with this: it was a positive and productive discussion. We certainly don’t agree on all points, although I feel progress is being made and it will continue to improve if we stay focused and professional.

If you are on Facebook, you can read the full post and subsequent comments by clicking HERE.

About Andrew Palmer