Pratical Boat Owner: ‘Maintaining the status quo is not an option’, says Guernsey Harbours director. Guernsey Harbours will undergo an £80million overhaul over the next 10 years to ensure it remains ‘fit for purpose’, it has been announced.
The self-financing scheme needs to come from new funding and includes proposed changes to pricing at St Peter Port and St Sampson’s. A £110million hydrocarbon supply facility to be built at St Sampson’s has also been announced, although this funding has been ring-fenced by central government.
Guernsey Boatowners Association president Peter Derham warned that plans to double the local mooring fees from 2016 – albeit with initial discounts for small boats 7m and under – could ‘kill off the goose that lays the golden egg.’
He said: ‘We all accept that investment is needed to upgrade our tired harbours and that our marinas are amongst the cheapest in the UK: however, we don’t have the facilities here to justify higher prices.
‘If these increases go through, many boat owners will be forced to give up their boating. ‘It’s a double edged sword because if they give up boating they won’t be able to sell their boats because there won’t be any market for them. They will be forced to find a field somewhere and just leave it there to rot.’
Guernsey Harbours director Sarah McGreevy said: ‘Maintaining the status quo is not an option. If we allow the harbours to continue to deteriorate and we fail to find new income streams and invest in the future, the impact on the island could be devastating.’
She added: ‘Our operating costs are currently £7m a year. We currently generate a surplus to cover our operating expenditure but it is insufficient. We are considering all options for raising the additional surplus required.’
The proposed revamp will include:
- The St Peter Port harbour layout and constructing a new terminal and customs shed
- Constructing a new Port Signal Station building
- Upgrading visitor marina facilities
- Developing quays and pontoons; re-configuring and refurbishing the inter-island, cruise ship and fish quays
- Maintaining, upgrading and repairing existing infrastructure such as breakwaters, harbour walls and public areas
- Reviewing and repairing navigational aids
- Replacing the West Roll On- Roll Off (RoRo) ramp
- End of life replacement of the Sarnia workboat
- Dredging St Peter Port Harbour
- Complying with International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) standards
Public Services Minister Paul Luxon said: ‘To quote the previous Harbour Master, St Peter Port Harbour is a 19th century structure using 20th century practices to deal with 21st century demands.’
A #MyHarbours initiative has been launched to enable harbour users and islanders to have their say on the proposals.
An online survey will run until 17 November, 2014. It contains 18 questions and should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete.
Guernsey Harbours expects to publish its recommendations in the March 2015 Billet d’Etat for debate by the States of Guernsey on 25 March 2015.
A series of user group meetings and drop in sessions for the public will be held between now and the end of November to gather as many views as possible.