Guernsey harbour fees rise 'will drive boats away'
Proposed increases in harbour charges will force people to sell their boats, according to the president of the Guernsey Boatowners' Association.
Peter Derham said about 300 people went to the group's AGM on Monday and all opposed the 100% rise in mooring fees.
The increase is part of proposals for the long-term development of St Peter Port and St Sampson's harbours.
Kate Lawson, commercial manager, said the work was "essential" and "everyone needed to pay their share".
She said: "We have done all we can to hold constructive engagement with all islanders, including three public meetings so we could answer all questions directly."
Currently boat owners pay an annual charge, based on the size of their vessel, to moor in the Albert, QEII and St Sampson's marinas.
The fee is currently £5.17 per square foot, meaning someone with a boat 30ft long and 10ft wide would pay £1,551 each year.
Mr Derham said the proposals would see these fees double immediately for large boats and over four years for small vessels.
He said: "We appreciate if there's going to reinvestment in the harbour we've got to contribute to that, but not the amounts being suggested.
"A large percentage of the people attending said if the proposed increases are imposed they will give up boating."
Harbour improvement plan
- New terminal and customs shed at St Peter Port harbour
- A new Signal Station building
- Upgrades to visitor marina facilities
- Developing quays and pontoons
- Upgrading breakwaters and harbour walls
- Reviewing and repairing navigational aids
- Replacing the west roll-on/roll-off ramp
- Replace the Sarnia workboat
- Dredging St Peter Port Harbour
Ms Lawson said even with the increases, Guernsey pricing would remain competitive with other harbours.
She said she did not believe the boat owners will give up as suggested and if the project did not go ahead it would "store up problems for future generations".
The 10-year project involves £80m of improvements to the harbour area and a £110m hydrocarbon supply facility to ensure the safe transfer of fuel to the island.