City fathers shouldn’t give harbour away

NANAIMO – Re: Nanaimo marina lease to private company

To the Editor,

Our city fathers do not seem to have the ability to see the obvious, that is, why would a private company want to take over this city’s great asset of the Nanaimo Boat Basin.

Profit, profit and better yet more profit – that is the only reason that private companies exist. It is only reasonable to believe that because a private company wants it, our harbour must be profitable.

The private company is willing to commit to and pay a 30-year lease, guarantee millions of dollars in improvements that will require interest-bearing loans while still making profits for the shareholders.

To my reckoning, based on invested dollars and commitments, the profits to be made should be about $1 million a year or $30 million for the term of the contract.

Even were I high on my estimate by 50 per cent, the private company could still make at least $15 million in profits.

That is not chump change. Combine all of that private company’s expense such as lease payments, the cost of borrowing for improvements, the payment of dividends to shareholders and the cost of operations such as maintenance, staff, office rental, hydro bills and so on.

That combination is an amount much greater than what the city would incur running the operation itself.

That much greater amount being given to a private company would be better spent on the services our public harbour now provides.

The city could take an amount similar to what the private company would have paid as a lease and put it into a reserve fund for future harbour development and/or improvements.

The city can also borrow at a much cheaper rate than the private sector for those necessary repairs and improvements needed right away.

So to the people who want our city fathers to give away our most profitable harbour to private interests, please try to educate yourselves before speaking about things it seems you know not of.  Also stop making these silly recommendations to our council.

Alan MacKinnon