AUSTIN (KXAN) - A tubing outfitter along the Colorado River in East Austin is experiencing some setbacks after code compliance closed the dirt trail that customers use to gain access to the water.
On Friday morning, inspectors with the City's code compliance department put a placard deeming the dirt trail, that runs from the business to the Colorado River, "dangerous." The City also put yellow caution tape up to keep people out.
Customers who rent from East Side Tubes usually take the five-minute walk down the winding trail to the water's edge and that's the biggest issue for the City.
Currently the trail is made-up of loose dirt, gravel and railroad ties. There are some hand railings in place but the City wants to make sure they're following city code.
"We're not shutting the business down," explains Paul Tomasovic with code compliance. "The measure we had to take today was a public safety issue. It has a lot to do with the grade and elevation [of the trail] and making sure it's safe for people to use."
But the owner of the business, Dan Walker, says with no other way to get his customers into the water, he basically has to shut his business down while the issue is resolved. His day has been busy handling cancelations.
"Reservations, have to cancel all the tubing," says Walker. "It's a huge impact."
Walker expects a financial loss of $14,000 to $20,000 from this weekend alone.
Tomasovic says Walker has not filed a site plan with the City for the company to use the trail as a commercial access site. The owner needs to submit site plans and other documents before they can more forward.
Walker says he has been working on this for the past few weeks and he has hired an engineer to assess the trail.
"I email them [code compliance] every day to let them know what I'm doing and I'm trying to get from Point A to Point B," says Walker.
Residents who live near the tubing outfitter have met with the city's parks and recreation department, legal department, and code enforcement to express their concerns regarding the crowds and environmental impact.
Walker feels like the complaints from his neighbors are personal. "I tried to negotiate, but they want to shut me down."
Walker says East Side Tubes takes part in regular river clean-ups. They also offer an incentive: $5 off for tubers who pick up and bring back river trash while they're out.
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