The following articles were published on this website last year, the video announcing the harbour takeover was at the end of May. If you listen to the language there is nothing that would indicate this was anything but a done-deal at that point. The public consultation with stakeholders does not mean stakeholders were going to be accommodated, but rather listened to and their concerns considered.
There seemed to be little to no opposition to this change until the summer when Brunie Brunie appeared at the Bathtub Race Parade collecting signatures from people opposed to the takeover. There was also the 'non-event' in Sept. when Brunie tried to get a blockade of the harbour organized which basically fizzled for complete lack of support.
Except for a few rumbles from Protection Island residents and some commercial interests the 'issue' never really seemed to gather any steam or capture the interest of Nanaimo residents.
Sadly, that seems to be pretty much the status quo for issues in Nanaimo.
Does Community Oppose The Change?
An ad hoc group led by Michelle Corfield is attempting to get enough public support to block the intended changes which will come to the inner harbour should the deal with a private company come to pass.
Primarily this group has a commercial interest in being able to use the harbour for their businesses which obviously could be impacted seriously by the change. As a group they have been relatively quiet since this was first announced last year not apparently being involved with the 'harbour blockade' last summer, nor adding their voice to the PINA's presentations to city council.
Based on the typical, apathetic response from Nanaimo residents (who don't have a boat in the harbour), combined with the support of the local media (this blog excluded), the business community and politicians at all levels, it would seem that with the exception of a few hundred people, Nanaimo residents really don't give a rip what happens.
It has been reported in the local daily that the NPA has been charging users about 30% of 'market rate' for moorage which is one reason they claim unable to fund the needed upgrades to the boat basin moorage. The article did not explain why the brain trust at the NPA felt is needed to charge such low, low rates in the first place. If this is an example of the business acumen of the guys and gals running the port, it is little wonder they had to give the harbour away to a private company to upgrade.
Turning the downtown waterfront into a parking lot for sterile, expensive white yachts and displacing the working boats in the harbour, will forever change the flavour of our waterfront. It seems the powers that be (if there are any beside NPA) seem to think it is a good idea.
The fact that the NPA has been unable to manage the affairs of the monopoly that is the business of the harbour waterfront in such a fashion as to be able to fund needed upgrades is not the least bit comforting.
Aside from Mr. Dumas who are these phantom board members who are conspicuously absent from this discussion.
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Private Firm Signs 30 Year Management Agreement
Plans $9 Million Renovation To Inner Harbour
Few Joined Threatened 'Blockade'
Local politico Brunie Brunie has been trying to gain support for her opposition to the deal the Nanaimo Port Authority has entered into which will see our harbour in the hands of private enterprise for the next thirty years.
Unfortunately her brash and crude approach is likely to cause those sympathetic to her cause to distance themselves from her, based on her approach. The costume she wore during the bathtub days parade was one example of drowning out the real message with over-the-top theatrics.
The 'blockade' was no exception, the message on the single masted sailboat uses language unfit to repeat, even in this day of changing attitudes. It also limits the number of caring citizens who are equally as opposed to the private deal with our harbour, but simply would not want to be associated with this type of protest.
The whole issue of giving away the inner harbour to a private corporation on the grounds that the Port Authority can't scrape together the nine million dollars they claim is needed to improve the docks deserves closer scrutiny. After all, that is a very valuable public asset that Mr. Dumas and company seem willing to bargain away for a pittance for the use of such a valuable asset as our inner harbour.
If you agree there needs to be a second look at this whole deal, contact your MP Dr. James Lunney to seek his involvement in this whole deal.
Brunie Brunie At Tub Parade
Local politico/activist Brunie Brunie was attired in an attention getting outfit attempting to gather signatures on a petition opposing the marina deal between the Nanaimo Port Authority and a private company.
She did not appear to be gathering too much support while I was watching, but it could be the costume had as much to do with that as the subject matter.
Click Image To Enlarge
Will Working Boats Disappear From The Waterfront?
This picture was taken the morning of August 1, 2012 in the inner harbour in downtown Nanaimo, and I think captures part of what makes our waterfront, our waterfront.
In times past the harbour was the heart and soul of this community and gave rise to our identity as the 'Hub' city as our harbour and central location made us the hub of Vancouver Island. Seeing tug boats, salvage boats, fish boats, ferries and barges are all part of Nanaimo's ID and while I realize that times are always changing, I have to wonder if loosing the sight of the working fleet tied up downtown will detract from the character of our harbour and waterfront which we all appreciate.
The Port Authority has seen fit to lease the harbour to a private company who would like to renovate the docks and turn it into a more up to date marina, which they believe will attract boaters unable to find suitable moorage elesewhere. It is unlikely, that a working fleet would have any place at such an upscale facility, which begs the question, will it really be an improvement in Nanaimo?
Will We Have Paved Paradise And Put Up Parking Lots?
Nanaimo has seen a lot of changes in this past decade and in reflection you have to wonder how many have been for the better? There seems to be this idea that if we just keep getting bigger we will naturally just get better, but I think that idea could be challenged. After all, people chose Nanaimo over Vancouver and over Victoria for a variety of reasons, so why are we in such a hurry to try and look like either one of them?
The downtown inner harbour is one example, the flavour the commercial fleet brings to the docks downtown is part of the fabric that makes Nanaimo, Nanaimo; why do we want it to look like someplace else where high end luxury yachts replace a working fleet? Will the change add or detract from downtown Nanaimo ..... will anyone have noticed?