It’s natural to be concerned when an outside entity takes over a local treasure, and Nanaimo’s Boat Basin is no exception.
Recently, the Nanaimo Port Authority announced that Pacific Northwest Marina Group will take on a long-term lease and rejuvenation of the Boat Basin, and PNMG has said it will pump $9 million into much needed upgrades.
Those upgrades will include enhanced security, high quality floats, better services and improved access for people with mobility issues – all of which are welcome.
But what Nanaimoites really need is the assurance the Boat Basin will remain accessible to all boaters, not just ones with the deepest pockets.
Fishing vessels, especially, need to be given a prominent and permanent berth in our basin. Nanaimo’s harbour has been and always should be a working harbour, and the people and industries who laid down those roots should never be cast aside.
There is fear growing that just that may happen, so some locals have decided to establish a blockade and deny visiting pleasure boats entry or exit from the Boat Basin.
This may not be the best approach. A blockade will not only harm Nanaimo businesses that rely on boater traffic, but the city’s tourist reputation as well.
Word carries quickly in the boating community, and the proposed one-day blockade could have much longer lasting consequences.
Before circling the wagons, more information needs to be extracted from the port authority and PNMG. As it stands now, it has been stated that all are welcome in the Boat Basin.
The day that changes is the day the Jolly Roger should be flown.