To the Editor,
Re: Major marina upgrades planned, May 31.
The piece about the Pacific Northwest Marina Group rebuilding the downtown marina seemed more like an advertising piece than news.
The spokesman for the group wants to make a visitor-friendly place where the public can wander the docks.
If they build what they built in Sidney, there will be none of that.
I just cruised through Sidney and overnighted there. With the kind of yachts they attract, there will be no public allowed, I assure you.
No owner of an 80-foot yacht wants the public near it. They have gates there and moorage is twice what it is in Nanaimo.
I cruise a C-Dory 22 all over North America and what this group is really saying is “we want to tidy up this place and get rid of the riff-raff”, but are too polite.
What this will mean is much higher costs to moor here and the displacement of what is left of the commercial fleet and tow boats.
The bread and butter folks who cruise modest boats and keep the local businesses running will be replaced by higher-end yachts who will likely drop more money but will not support local marine suppliers because they have wholesale accounts due to the vessels’ size and most owners’ corporate affiliations.
I worry about their vision when they say they want “Nanaimo to become the premier boating destination in the Pacific Northwest”.
That location is in the U.S. This is Canada and Nanaimo is located in the Pacific Southwest of Canada. Better language would be a plus.
This will be another step in the displacement of regular folks who can ooh and aahh from the boardwalk at all the shiny yachts.
I have just been in Roche Harbor, San Juan Islands, and saw the result of this kind of thinking.
The moorage rates are double what Friday Harbor is only 12 kilometres away, and restaurant prices are 30 per cent more and the locals now refer to Roche Harbor as Goche Harbor. As in tres Gauche.
The yachts kept there by business folks are 75-plus feet and home ported in Vegas, Hollywood, Dallas, etc.
The average people now come to Roche Harbor to have a look, but buy their meals in Friday Harbor.
This is a trend all over North America and maybe there isn’t much choice about it, but let’s be clear about it.
The facility will attract a higher-end kind of clientele no doubt. But if you think we’ll be allowed to walk the docks to enjoy the boats, I don’t think so.
When lots of larger yachts don’t even have names on them anymore for privacy concerns, these owners won’t want us ordinary folks down there.