EDITORIAL: Investor’s exit changes little

NANAIMO – Boat basin still needs large infusion of cash to bring it up to snuff.

The Pacific Northwest Marina Group’s about face on a proposed 30-year lease of the Nanaimo Boat Basin caught most people by surprise.

While the company is remaining tight-lipped over its decision – Bernie Dumas, Nanaimo Port Authority CEO, said Pacific Northwest’s reasons included the timeline for an environmental review and other opportunities providing quicker return on its investment – one has to wonder how much the waves of protest by Nanaimo residents and marina stakeholders played a part.

The small, but vocal, opposition was dead set against what it called the privatization of the harbour – shutting out resident boaters and local fishermen in favour of multi-million dollar yachts from the U.S.

Whether that would have ever been the case won’t be known now, as the port authority simply plans to carry on managing the marina as it has in the past. Everything remains status quo.

And while that might seem like a victory for those who want the boat basin to remain just the way it is, it’s far from a win-win situation. It raises the question, what’s next?

One only has to take a walk along the aging docks to see the boat basin in its current form cannot remain the same.

It requires an infusion of cash – and a significant amount – to bring it up to today’s standards.

Already D dock has been closed to all use because of safety concerns. What’s next? A, B, C – pick your letter – dock closed as well?

The boat basin needs to be shipshape and someone has to pay for it. If the people don’t want out-of-town investors with deep pockets willing to invest $9 million into the aging infrastructure, that’s fine. That leaves the taxpayer footing the bill.

The people have protested, criticized and apparently won.

Now its time to step up and pay to keep the shine on our jewel of a harbour.