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At the Marina User group public meeting on April 21, the Cobourg Yacht club made their case for an expansion of the Marina.  They promised to make their presentation public and have now done so. The part that is of most interest (at least to me) is that they do not support the report in its key recommendations. In their words: “The Cobourg Yacht Club believes the goals of the proposal can be met within the existing footprint of the current marina operation.” That means we are not recommending expansion beyond the center pier at this time. In addition, they do not want boat storage to be in the current parking lot as recommended.  It makes you wonder if Shoreplan listened to anyone other than Marina Manager Paul Gauthier.

Instead of the parking lot, they suggest that the East end of the West Beach area be used.  That’s where there is usually vendor parking for the Waterfront Festival.  They say that this use can continue since boats would be in the water at that time.

Their summary says that:
CYC’s position is that CYC:

  • Supports well documented, properly planned and executed marina expansion
  • Does not support the slip layout presented in this proposal
  • Has 7 recommendations to improve the current operation of the marina and future viability of Cobourg Harbour

In brief the 7 recommendations are (edited for brevity from original):

  1. Town Council continue to generate a marina surplus of at least $70,000 per year for the next 10 - 15 years.
  2. Town Council amend the visiting boater / transient ratio to 10% of available slips to reduce the waiting list and to ensure a predictable flow of revenue to the marina operation and reduce the vagaries of relying on weather-dependent and economic-constrained transient docking to generate the needed cash flow.
  3. Town Council direct and approve an updated marina management system that would ensure that 'away boats' (seasonal boats that are away cruising) be registered with the marina office so that their slips can be rented out to visiting boaters - this is standard practice in marina operations
  4. Town Council direct the marina manager to institute a reservation system for up to 50% of the available slips (including away boats) so that slower travelling boats are assured of a proper slip before setting out.
  5. Town Council direct and approve immediate improvement to water and electrical hook-up on the west side of the centre pier to ensure the comfort of visiting boaters using this pier - the use of the pier is a current practice and one that is necessary to ensure that no boat is turned away from this harbour.
  6. The town place a moratorium on any changes to the use of the harbour without full consultation with the user groups - a user advisory committee.
    We ask for this moratorium to be backdated to January 1, 2015 to reverse any changes that were made to the marina land use, including council's recent decision to move the overflow and festival parking from the area west of the current storage compound to the green space north of the marina parking lot.  (See full report for more on this – link below).
  7. The Cobourg Yacht Club asks Town Council to introduce Fair and Equitable fee structure for the harbour use. Currently, marina operations occupy approximately 28% of the harbour including the launch ramp and the storage compound. We agree that the marina operation must be fully funded by the boaters who use the marina. The balance of the harbour expense - dredging, pier maintenance and re-construction, etc. - should be funded by the people who use the balance of the harbour.

The users of the outer harbour include:

  1. The Coast Guard - exempt by virtue of the agreement that saw the harbour be transferred from the federal government to the town as a Small Craft Harbour
  2. The boaters - who use the outer harbour for entrance and egress - The boaters already pay their share in their fees. And for the record, those fees currently cover 99% of the entire harbour costs - including trash pickup on the east beach and, under the current operating model, the much needed repairs to the east pier.
  3. The CYC sailing school - who use the outer harbour for lessons
  4. The Survivor Thrivers who use the outer harbour for practice  -  a charitable organization & should remain exempt
  5. The Cobourg Dragon Boat & Canoe club, who use the outer harbour for lessons, practice and competition.  A commercial enterprise with a not-for-profit status with the CRA; it pays no property taxes on its storage compound but does pay a nominal fee to the marina.
  6. The Willow Beach Field Naturalists who use the outer harbour for naturalist activities - A not-for-profit organization and is acting like an environmental lobby group petitioning councilors and requesting changes to marina land use without input from the other users.

The CYC asks that all groups pay their fair share – more detail in their full report – link below. 

Certainly some contentious recommendations but also some that would be agreeable to many.

Links

 

 

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