Guernsey Press

Mooring fee increases to go ahead after States move fails

A re-run of a debate calling for the mooring fees set by the States’ Trading Supervisory Board to be overturned yesterday failed to lead to a different conclusion than last time.

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The topic was last discussed in December, when an attempt to block the board’s plan was defeated by one vote, with four members not voting and three absent.

This new requete led by Deputy David De Lisle wanted the rises – between 20% and 31% – to be replaced with a flat rate of 10% and this was lost by two votes – 20 votes to 18, with two abstentions from the Alderney Representatives.

However, a large majority approved a proposition to consult ahead of any additional rises.

  • Hear reaction from Deputies De Lisle and Roffey on our Shorthand States podcast

One of the opponents was Deputy Andy Taylor. ‘This is not a debate about the haves and the have-nots,’ he said.

‘This is a debate about the haves and the have-mores.’

The States needed to raise more money and every little helped.

Deputy Steve Falla said that the amount being requested by ports was disproportionate and thought the requete was a good option since it would allow for consultation.

A survey by the STSB had shown that 63% of boat owners would quit boating and sell their boats if the proposed charges remained, said Deputy Simon Vermeulen, one of the requerants. He asked members to imagine the impact on the economy if that happened.

What Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller wanted to see was a commitment to change and transformation from the STSB.

The ports needed to invest in facilities ‘desperately’, she said.

Deputy John Gollop referred to the Jersey situation where there was a regulatory structure at the ports which was not part of the political process and wondered if that might work for Guernsey.

It was inequitable and unfair for one part of ports to ‘prop up’ the other, said requerant Deputy Adrian Gabriel, who thought it would be a good idea if the airport and harbours had separate profit and loss accounts.

What about having the harbour follow the example of the airport and have an area of long-term paid parking, asked Deputy Carl Meerveld.

Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen said members should not be quibbling over percentages and the STSB needed to have done better by consulting with stakeholders earlier on.

Why should a hobby be subsidised by taxpayers, asked Deputy Chris Le Tissier, who said that boat owners already had subsidised diesel fuel.

Deputy Peter Ferbrache said he did not like what had to be done because boat owners were good people.

However, he believed the requete would pass and Guernsey would be worse off as a result.

Policy & Resources president Lyndon Trott said that a business would not increase fees by 20% to 31% because that would be ‘ludicrous’ and he supported the requete.

The STSB’s rises would still not be on a par with Jersey’s, said Environment & Infrastructure president Lindsay de Saumarez.

She had spoken to one boat owner who was not averse to fees going up since there were no moorings available.

Why not charge boat owners to live on their boats, suggested Deputy Sam Haskins, and this could be about £200 a month.

If 100 of the 1800 moorings holders took it up, that would yield enough to cover the deficit.