Deputy Neil Inder’s amendment to the Future Harbour Development proposals seeks to prioritise work on the Pool marina to kick-start return on the multi-million pound harbour investments proposed.
The Guernsey Boatowners’ Association was delighted with the amendment, calling it ‘the way forward’.
‘We’ve been pushing for the reconfiguration of the Pool area for some time,’ association president Nick Guillemette said.
‘The finer details of the proposed design and layout need to be determined over the next six months if the States agrees to this amendment at their next sitting, and the GBA would like to be involved in these discussions along with the marine traders and the two local yacht clubs.’
With their combined knowledge and experience of competing marinas, he believed they could offer considerable insight into the type of facilities required.
‘By utilising the maximum space in the Pool we estimate provision for 350 to 400 vessels, including visiting boats.
‘If we are intending to do the job properly, this will require some dredging while still allowing for passage around the perimeter for inter-island ferries,’ he said.
Estimating potential revenue from these berths would be between £6m. and £8m. if marketed correctly.
He said local berth holders would pay higher mooring fees for the advantage of 24/7 access, unlike other tidal marinas.
Demand for larger local boats and new boat owners is considerable, but Guernsey Harbours is unable to provide space for this.
‘The Victoria Marina would be protected by any new Pool wave wall and would allow for the Victoria Marina to be marketed to foreign vessels wishing to over-winter here,’ Mr Guillemette said.
‘No VAT, lower mooring costs, and excellent maintenance facilities are an attraction to these potential customers and a demand already exists for this service which currently cannot be offered due to lack of protection from easterly winds.’
Marine & General Engineers managing director, and Marine Traders’ Association president, David Norman agreed, saying accommodation was poor at the moment and that was why the berths are largely empty during winter.
‘We have been screaming for additional local berths, but nothing has been built since the St Sampson’s Marina in 2005,’ he said.
‘We really need something that is fit for the future in St Peter Port and St Sampson’s.’
As a boater himself, he said many spend most of their time thinking about the return to the harbour so as not to miss the tide.
A marina not subject to tide levels would be invaluable and improve the experience for local boat owners and visitors, which in turn would lead to revenue for the local economy.
‘A survey in 2002 showed that the average spend per boat in Guernsey is about £230 a day,’ he said.
‘Multiply that by increased berth numbers and winter visitors and you come up with a rather significant sum.’