I am writing as Manager of Salt Spring Marina for the past 30 years. From my perspective, our summers have been getting busier, and I have had to turn boats away. There is no where else for them to go, so they anchor in the harbour and come ashore by dinghy to enjoy the wealth of activities on Salt Spring. While at anchor, they most likely dump their sewage in the harbour, because they cannot easily get to shore facilities.
We have been planning Salt Spring Marina’s expansion and renovation for many years. Every year, we have inspected the docks, and refitted them to withstand the hard winters we have been experiencing. Because of our diligence, we have had minor damage compared to other marinas on Salt Spring Island. However, it is time for new docks to be installed, docks that are engineered and built to withstand the winds and waves, so that the boats in our marina are well protected.
The new marina will be Cleanest and Greenest on the BC coast. It is being built by a local marine construction company, Island Marine, to protect the 150 or so boats that will be moored there at any one time. Our Project Manager and Marine Surveyor, John Roland, is a member of one of the oldest families on Salt Spring. A local bank, Island Savings Bank, is financing a portion of the cost of building it. We hire local students in the summers. Our uplands are home to Moby’s Pub and Harbour’s End Marine.
The old marina was not strong enough to take all the boats that wanted to moor here over the winter months, but the new one will take up to 1200 lineal feet of local boats (a restriction based on bylaws relating to available parking). Many other “local” boaters in the Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island, and the mainland, who do not require parking, will take advantage of our new docks. Our transit system links them to our ferries so they can leave their boat here and go back to work in the city. They will come for the Saturday Market, the Tuesday Farmers Market, the galleries and shops and restaurants in the village just a 10-minute walk away. We are also planning to run a free shuttle to drop off and pick up marina guests. These boaters come and spend money; they are important to our island economy. They don’t need parking, don’t drink and drive.
Salt Spring Marina has also agreed to provide a portable pump-out machine for disposal of the waste on these boats. Because of its portability, it will get used more often than a stationary waste disposal system such as the one at the government dock. That pump-out is often unavailable because a boat is moored in front of it. Our boaters will use the toilets and laundry on shore, and so will not pollute Ganges Harbour.
Another good reason to approve the new marina as quickly as possible is that it will be built over Moneymaker Rocks, eliminating a boating hazard that has caused many boats per year to go aground just outside the old footprint of Salt Spring Marina.
So, we urge you to quickly approve the construction of the new marina, so it can be ready by May 1, 2019. We have already torn out the old docks in anticipation of your approval. Island Marine is building the off site for installation as soon as you give us permission to proceed
Thanks very much,
Lesley Cheeseman, Salt Spring Marina Manager since 1989