Barb Storch

Barb Storch

Residents speak mind on Cedar marina plan

NANAIMO – Boat Harbour Marina is situated on an old coal export site, and redeveloping could have environmental impact, say residents.

Environment and access to trails are among the concerns voiced by attendees of a public meeting on a Boat Harbour Marina project this past Thursday night at Cedar Community Hall.

Tiara (BHM) Holdings, marina owner, has submitted a development permit application to the Regional District of Nanaimo seeking to redevelop the marina and expand parking. The marina site is located at an old coal loading operation and residents are concerned redevelopment could have an adverse effect on the environment, particularly if coal sediment is disturbed.

“It’s full of old coal. If you dig that up you got another Exxon Valdez basically … it’s just going to make a big mess,” said resident Cam Mcleay.

“My concerns are ecological in that Stuart Channel is diminished greatly as a highly productive area in the past and dredging’s going to be bad for it,” said Tom Hutton, longtime Cedar resident.

Nicole Vaugeois, another resident and research chairwoman with the department of recreation and tourism at Vancouver Island University, expressed concern about trail access, which some say has been blocked.

“Lots of communities are trying to actually get a trail and have a trail to get people to come to, so that there’s tourism benefits or special event benefits,” she said. “All of that future money that could be a result of this, we just would be shooting ourselves in the foot to not have that open right now.”

Roy Ellis and Alvin Hui, who run the holdings company, were unavailable for comment, but in a statement provided in February, said no work has been done at the marina and reports from experts are being finalized.

In terms of trail access, Ellis and Hui said they put up fences because people have been trespassing onto their property and dumping garbage, including abandoned vehicles and old building supplies.

The two are expected to detail their plans at a March 21 meeting at 6 p.m. at the community hall.