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Boat owners face increased rates

Bylaw amendment increases rates by 15 to 42 per cent
Laura Walz

Boat owners who moor their vessels in the north harbour will be paying 15 to 42 per cent more, depending on the size of their craft.

City of Powell River council passed the first three readings of an amendment to the municipal marina rates and regulations bylaw, which increases fees to cover capital and maintenance costs as well as establish a reserve fund.

The $7.5 million expansion project in the north harbour is expected to be completed by June. The project involved dredging the basin and removing the existing riprap from the side slopes, recontouring the bank, putting new riprap on the redefined slope and reconfiguring new floats.

For boats 16 to 27 feet in length, the annual rate per foot per month is $5.25. For a boat of 26 feet, the increase is 15 per cent, or $17.68, to $136.50 per month. The annual rate for boats 28 to 38 feet is $5.75 per foot per month. That means for a 36-foot boat, the increase is 26 per cent, or $207 per month. The annual rate for boats 39 to 50 or more feet, the rate is $6.50 per foot per month. For a 50-foot boat, the increase is 42 per cent, or $96.50, to $325 a month.

As well, the new fee structure reduces the senior discount rate for owners over 65 years from 20 per cent to 10 per cent. It also includes a 10 per cent administration fee for owners who pay for moorage twice a year.

According to a staff report, the new rates are below an average obtained by comparing rates charged at other marinas in the area, including Comox, Campbell River, Gibsons and Schooner Cove.

The report stated that staff have a commitment from boat owners either by deposit or verbally for over 80 per cent of available berths and “are confident that an occupancy rate of over 90 per cent is achievable.”

To establish a rate structure, staff used a 92 per cent capacity rate to estimate revenue. Staff proposed that the reserve fund should be sufficient to fund the replacement of the facility after 30 years, or approximately $5.5 million. “In addition to facility replacement, the reserve could be used to fund any major repairs that may be required prior to the end of the lifespan,” the report stated.

Councillor Dave Formosa declared a conflict of interest because he owns a marina in the community and did not participate in the discussion at the committee-of-the-whole meeting or vote at council.