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Mooring fee increase lambasted as "draconian"

Mooring fee increase lambasted as

Friday 01 September 2023

Mooring fee increase lambasted as "draconian"

Friday 01 September 2023


Boatowners in Guernsey have dubbed proposed increases to charges at the ports as "draconian".

Increases of up to 150% plus RPI will be implemented across the next three years.

It comes as Guernsey Ports announced its intention to eliminate the need for taxpayer funding, opting for increased charges at the airport and harbour instead. 

Guernsey Ports said it is feeling the pressure after four years of losses triggered by the covid pandemic and massive falls in visitor numbers.  

It is now forecasting a loss of £6million this year, bringing the total funding received to keep Ports buoyant to £30million, all funded from the taxpayer.  

“Given the current pressure on States finances, it was felt important to make significant inroads in reducing Guernsey Ports’ reliance on general revenue from next year,” said Ports Managing Director Colin Le Ray. 

“The review has identified where there is scope for raising additional revenue now, and focussing on user charges means the greatest contribution in terms of income will be from those islanders who benefit most from the facilities we provide. 

“We are also aiming to reduce our operating costs, and a full review of expenditure is underway to identify savings and efficiencies. Those will be key to improving our financial position, but may take more time to realise the full benefits. Cost savings alone will not be sufficient to return Guernsey Ports to a fully self-funding position.” 

St_Peter_Port_Harbour.jpg

The proposed changes would mean that Guernsey Ports would be able to meet its ongoing operating costs going forward. 

However, the hike in fees has been criticised by boatowners and members of the Guernsey Boat Owners Association.

"These increases will undoubtedly lead to boatowners selling their boats and the leisure industry will shrink and so will the revenue that Guernsey Ports currently enjoys," said Nick Guillemette from the Association.

"Instead of destroying their achievements, the States could take a more proactive view by investing in the Pool project which would not only generate extra income in the region of £10M plus but also put Guernsey back on the map within the leisure boating world, where we used to be!

"I appreciate that the States is searching for more income to carry out the long overdue repairs to St.Peter Port and these proposals have been produced as a consultation document.

"I also accept that the leisure industry might contribute more than RPI but not these unacceptable percentages.

"We are meeting with the authorities next week to discuss our concerns and to put forward our own proposals."

Express has also received several comments from boatowners and members of the Association - they've chosen to remain anonymous.

  • "Losses accrued by Covid were also nothing to do with boat owners. In fact we continued to pay full fees throughout Covid despite not being able to use our vessels for significant periods and were probably the only income stream that continued to make a profit for the Ports during the Covid period."
  • "The proposed draconian increases of between 50-100% are totally unjustified, unaffordable for many boat owners and frankly an abuse of a monopoly situation. Especially given the massive contribution the leisure sector has already made to the finances of the Ports for many years and how little has been done to maintain and upgrade facilities."
  • "Members are very angry that the Ports management should be attempting to take the easy option by proposing such an unreasonable increase on a small group of islanders for the use of their sporting and leisure facility. Particularly when they see large areas of the Harbour Quays which could be earning money for the Ports given over to free parking for Town businesses."
  • "The proposed increases will make the cost of boating unaffordable to most young families and other less well off islanders and only the wealthy will be able to continue boating."

One boatowner who contacted Express earlier in the week said: “I will now be looking at selling my rib due to being priced out, as it’s becoming no longer affordable to have one here anymore.” 

“Likewise visiting yachts will bypass us in future to go elsewhere offering better facilities for less money (i.e. Jersey).”

Guernsey Ports said it is phasing in the changes to help people adjust and will be seeking feedback via commercialandproperty@ports.gg. 

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