Diamond Cup: Promoters Letter to the Community at Large
A certain amount of controversy arose during the permit process for this year’s Veteran’s Diamond Cup promoters in that Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolflinger denied his permit over unresolved debt from last year. Questions exist as to whether Wolflinger has the authority to cancel the famous hydroplane race. He thinks he does; others are sure he does not. The following letter explains clearly, without vehemence, the position the promoters believe they have in the process.
One thing is sure. They’ve cleared every hurdle in all other permit processes to date and have shown remarkable tenacity and integrity in their more than adequate attention to details. The sheriff’s decision, if it stands (and Wolflinger is being firm) could cost Kootenai and other North Idaho and Spokane Valley services upwards of $1 million to $2 million dollars in projected revenue over the coming Labor Day Weekend.
You decide. Is it worth it?
Dear Members of the [North Idaho] Community
Dear Members of the Community,
For the past several years, the Diamond Cup Committee has worked tirelessly to create a positive community-wide event by bringing the Diamond Cup back to Lake Coeur d’Alene. Our goals from the outset have been to shine a positive light on Coeur d’Alene, to attract new investment in our local economy, and to broadly promote our scenic region. For example, this year’s Diamond Cup is under contract to be covered by CBS Sports Network, streaming live to 110 countries around the globe and bringing positive and priceless exposure to the City by the Lake and its businesses.
In preparation for this year’s race, the Committee has:
- Worked collaboratively with Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation Permit to secure their approval. This IDPR permit is now in the possession of Diamond Cup LLC.
- Submitted a completed engineered traffic plan and application to the Idaho Transportation Dept., with the issuance of their permit expected within a week.
- Designed and engineered a new race course buoy system to address the requirements of the Idaho Dept. of Lands and the concerns of the region’s fishermen (who have now offered their support for our event).
- Completed the permitting application process with the Idaho Dept. of Lands, with a decision on the application expected by July 10.
- Completed a Biological Assessment for the Army Corps. of Engineers as well as their required permitting approvals, with permit issuance expected in the next two weeks.
- Participated in a required public hearing in front of the Kootenai County Planning and Zoning Commission for a new Special Events Permit in the “agricultural suburban zone” given that the event will attract more than 500 people. This requirement was first communicated to the Committee in May. Please note that the requirement was not applied to the Ironman event or any other events in the same zone.
- Assembled all information for submission to the policy underwriter who will insure the race. The policy will be written one month before the event consistent with the underwriter’s conditions. Issuance can’t be accelerated.
- Reached agreement on a payment plan with Kootenai Fire & Rescue to eliminate the outstanding debt from the 2013 race and to ensure payment of the fee for the 2014 race.
As you can see from this non-exhaustive list, the Committee has been working hard on this event and making progress towards meeting all permitting requirements in advance of the deadline as established by Idaho Code (30 days prior to the event). Like many community members, we were stunned by the Kootenai County Sheriff Dept.’s announcement that they were declining to issue us a permit from their agency based upon artificial deadlines that were impossible to meet.
For example, last year, the Committee did not receive its final permit from the Idaho Dept. of Lands until August 8th, and we were able to have a race with 50,000 people with NO insurance claims. Still, this year the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office required that all other agency permits be issued two months before the race (a month earlier than what Idaho law requires), and imposed requirements not imposed on other community events of this scope.
Unfortunately, Kootenai County’s Sheriff’s Office would not allow the Committee to start the permitting process until early 2014, thereby shortening the amount of time we had within which to meet an incredibly long list of permitting requirements.
We have cooperatively worked with other agencies to satisfy their requirements for the 2014 event. Where mistakes were made in operations last year (our first attempt), we have modified our plans to the satisfaction of the requesting agencies.
Please let the Sheriff’s Dept. know your thoughts and why they should extend the compliance date for the 2014 Veteran’s* Diamond Cup. They need to know that there is a broad base of support for the event and that their decision was not in the best interests of our community. The contact e-mail for the Sheriff’s Office is firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the end of the day, the Diamond Cup will create jobs and promote tourism in a tourist-based community. It wasn’t too long ago when economic conditions were such that the community was in need of positive exposure such as an event of this scope and magnitude. Many of you have likely not forgotten that fact.
Doug Miller, President
Diamond Cup LLC