The Pacific Northwest Marina Group has backed out of a proposed 30-year lease of the Nanaimo Boat Basin.
The memorandum of agreement signed between the Nanaimo Port Authority and Pacific Northwest in May 2012 expired April 1, and PNMG will not be taking on the revitalization and long-term lease of the Nanaimo marina.
“While we are disappointed to lose this opportunity for needed investment into our marina, we understand and respect the Pacific Northwest Marina Group’s desire to pursue other immediate opportunities,” said Bernie Dumas, CEO of Nanaimo Port Authority, in a press release.
The lease agreement was to be finalized in the fall after PNMG had secured the necessary approvals for the redevelopment and satisfied several conditions related to the operation of the marina.
The expected total commitment to the project by PNMG was approximately $9 million and 100 per cent of the capital for the redevelopment was also coming from the developer.
The proposal created a storm of controversy with local residents and marina stakeholders such as commercial fishermen, Protection Island residents and Snuneymuxw First Nation members. The port authority also received criticism for choosing a private company to manage what residents see as a public asset before putting it out to tender.
Michelle Corfield, founder of Citizens to Save our Harbour Coalition, said she is excited to hear that the proposed privatization of Nanaimo Boat Basin, the visiting vessel pier and the other leases such as the floating restaurants will remain under the jurisdiction of the federal government through the Nanaimo Port Authority.
As for the boat basin’s aging infrastructure, Corfield said the port authority generates millions of dollars a year from the current activities within the harbour, and with some strategic direction, can revitalize the boat basin to meet the needs of all the stakeholders.
Dumas said the port authority will continue to manage the Nanaimo marina.
“Our door remains open to partners who can help us improve what is an incredible asset to the Nanaimo community,” he said.
The Pacific Northwest Marina Group could not be reached for further comment before press deadline.