Marina proposal comes at heavy cost

NANAIMO: Re: Critics float marina worries, Aug. 7.

To the Editor,

Re: Critics float marina worries, Aug. 7.

Nanaimo’s harbour, according to Nanaimo Port Authority’s website, is the “heart and soul” of the city and a place where the “community keeps beat with the rhythm of the sea.”

The harbour Boat Basin is an especially vital and lively place where real life contrasts, from fishing boats to luxury yachts, ferries to runabout dinghies,  Snuneymuxw canoes to Chinese dragon boats, seaplanes to sailboats, make this harbour one of the most unique and picturesque on the West Coast.

Encircled by Nanaimo’s equally vital downtown and overlooked by the Bastion, Pioneer Square, and shops along the seawall, the harbour really is the heart of this ‘Harbour City.’

Now, as if appearing out of nowhere, a private company, Pacific Northwest Marina Group, has come forward and offered $9 million to ‘revitalize’ the boat basin in exchange for an exclusive 30-year lease.

Their plans, presented in public meetings and on their website, propose a shiny new marina where “recreational boaters will enjoy an easy, stress-free, hotel-like experience” and the public will be allowed to stroll along new wheelchair accessible ramps and walkways.

Meanwhile, the fishing boats and all vestiges of a real working and diverse harbour will be eradicated.

PNMG’s proposal, like a gift from the gods, comes with enticing benefits for a Port Authority that argues the public marina is in need of extensive and expensive revitalization.

But at what real cost?

With the gift comes a heavy price – the loss of the unique and defining character of the harbour.

Is the NPA and the city really so bedazzled by the glitter that they are prepared to sell the soul of Nanaimo?

Marie Leduc