Well today was the official launch of Port Stanley's new Public Boat Ramp, coming
in some $50,000.00 under the $300,000.00 originally budgeted for it in September
of 2014. Of course it was already in use before the public opening and I have no
problem with the expensive price tag. I'm just concerned with how council intends
to recover the cost.
On February 18, 2015 council decided that the boat ramp would be free to use, but
it would cost $20.00 to park a vehicle and boat trailer. So I guess they figure
they get a $20.00 fee for using it that way. But I saw a guy drive down with a buddy,
launch his boat with his buddy driving it, and then drive back across the bridge
to park free on the east pier, from which his buddy picked him up. And the $20.00
fee went where?
Not only does a twenty dollar fee undercut private marinas in the area (who pay
commercial rate property taxes), but it seems the municipality cannot even guarantee
it will get that fee for each and every boat launch.
I thought the plan was to make the harbour run in a way that it was self-sustaining.
Such a plan must include recovery of infrastructure costs, even though that
recovery is slow and over the long term. It would take 12,500 boat launches at twenty
bucks a pop to cover that straight cost. If no actual fee is charged, or the parking
fee and spot not made mandatory so we can get that fee, not only is it unfair competition
for our local marinas, but recovery of the infrastructure cost becomes impossible.
In their very first business venture in relation to the harbour this is a glaring
flaw. They need to fix this, now.