Prior to the December 10th budget meeting, we sent a letter to the Commissioners and Staff protesting this gouging, and eight members spoke against fee hikes, deteriorating conditions, and loss of services. Many more members came out to join the audience. Marina members truly dominated the speakers agenda at the meeting - what a fantastic turnout!
As it turns out, we learned that the plans for another 8% increase had been dropped, instead only a 2% increase (consistent with inflation) was proposed.
Following a proposal by Commissioner John Irwin, the proposed fee increase of 2% was reduced to 1%, in recognition of some of the difficulties (including the delayed construction project) at Burrard Civic.
This is a very good outcome - first the return of the 8% increase was chopped down to 2%, and now down to 1%. True, it's not zero, or a reversal of the big fee hike of last year, but it is significant nonetheless. Moreover, the recognition by the new Board that there is "work to be done" to improve things at the marina, sends a strong signal to the bureaucracy that the "status quo" is no longer acceptable.
Heather Civic Marina patrons will also benefit from this reprieve, since their fees are pegged to ours, so if you know anyone over there you could let them know that BCMCA Members are saving them quite a lot of cash. Other marinas tend to follow Burrard Civic's pricing too, so it will be interesting to follow this in the marina market.
The proceedings of last Monday’s meeting are on video here…
The meeting opened with a statement from the Finance Department that “Affordability is a priority.”
Finance Manager Steve Jackson’s discussion of marinas is at 07:21 in the video. At 11:27 Commissioner John Coupar asked what became of the intention for staff to consult with marina users regarding fees. A staff member responds that they weren’t able to meet with the marina users group in time for this budget meeting. (To clarify, BCMCA directors had been promised a meeting to discuss this on Aug 28/18, however it was cancelled by Parks Board staff, and never re-scheduled.)
At 14:14, Commissioner John Coupar asked for an update on capital spending projects at the marina. Mr. Jackson said the majority of work is complete, which is technically accurate for the "upland works" water and electrical supply, but a sizable part of the dock replacement phase remains far from complete.
At 17:14 the first of the marina patron speakers starts. There was a 5 minute time limit on each.
Joao Carlos d'Almeida
The second phase of the meeting dealt with capital budget expenses, the video is here:
At 34:45, our two BCMCA Speakers addressed marina issues:
Some compelling arguments were made in favour of establishing a Contingency Fund (similar to what golf courses have), which would go a long way towards better long-term planning for capital improvements. It was also good to see many Commissioners ask many questions about marina issues.
We came away from this meeting with more than just a reduction in the rate increase for next season, We have also garnered the attention of the PB Commissioners and the Director of Finance. They are now aware that marina members are highly displeased with the previous year's 8% rate increase and the plan to continue with additional hefty hikes.
Commissioners have agreed that a meeting to discuss appropriate fee structure should be set up between marina members and Parks Board staff to better understand the discrepancy between Parks Board rate calculations and our own findings. Meetings to begin in January.
Following the meeting, Commissioner Camil Dumont has requested the opportunity to visit the marina to see first hand it's condition. We plan to meet sometime in January. We welcome increased interest in the marina from the other commissioners as well, and hope to build new relationships and understanding.
So there it is for now, the hard work we have put in the last 13 months is at last showing results. Our hope is to bring honest value back to the marina for your moorage dollar, and restore our enjoyment of the marina.
We would like to thank the Directors of the BCMCA, the members who spoke at the meeting, those who wrote to the Parks Board, and anyone else who has made the Parks Board aware of our concerns...kudos to you all! Every little bit helps!