Boat show sunk this year

The Nanaimo Port Authority has sunk its annual Floating Boat and Marine Trade Show this year.

The show, which has run for the past eight years at the Nanaimo Boat Basin, will not go forward this year for a number of reasons, said Bernie Dumas, port authority president.

He said the event wasn’t making money, as entry fees were nominal and the port authority had to hire additional staff, the docks are aging and in need of repair or replacement – one dock that reached the end of its life span has already been closed – and the port authority is in the midst of finalizing a 30-year lease agreement with Pacific Northwest Marina Group to redevelop the harbour.

The lease agreement is expected to move ahead sometime late February, after the completion of an environmental review.

“We’re in a transitional state with the marina, we’re trying to complete the lease,” said Dumas.

All these factors led to the decision to cancel the show for one year, but the port authority is discussing its future with the new operators-to-be and the organization hopes to work with the community to bring it back, he added.

“It was a difficult [decision] because the port actually created the boat show,” said Dumas. “On a nice day, it was a lot of fun. I think the operators were happy to come here and they’re a little bit disappointed.”

The show attracted 32 major yacht brokers, manufacturers and marine suppliers last year, selling out exhibitor space.

Kye Francoeur, general manager of Westwood Power and Marine, said when his business has been able to participate, the downtown boat show was a great experience and generated some modest sales for the company.

He hopes the event will return, especially if the economic slowdown reverses.

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