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Marina in the Pool "an opportunity that must be seized"

Marina in the Pool

Tuesday 15 June 2021

Marina in the Pool "an opportunity that must be seized"

Tuesday 15 June 2021


A pool marina would have the potential to bring millions of pounds in new revenue to Guernsey, according to the Guernsey Marine Traders' Association.

The creation of a marina in the pool of St Peter Port is an amendment to the STSB's £360m proposals to rejuvenate Guernsey's harbours by moving most commercial activity to a completely new port at Longue Hougue

At this week's States meeting, Deputies Neil Inder and Simon Vermeulen will ask the STSB to submit full proposals for a pool marina by the end of 2022. 

GMTA President David Norman said it is a welcome proposal that the association has long campaigned for.

"The Pool of St Peter Port is an under-utilised area and has not been used for commercial shipping for decades, it has very few permanent moorings left in it," he said. 

"St Sampson’s marina was completed in 2005 and was built mainly for small boats. There has been a severe shortage of marina berths for boats ever since then, especially for any boat over 30ft long. 

"This has been a considerable barrier to local families owning a boat for the first time, getting afloat and enjoying our Channel Island waters. This has equally been a barrier for people with a small boat that wish to up-scale and explore further afield."

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Pictured: Ports Management has indicated that the area illustrated could provide between 150 and 200 permanent berths and include visitor pontoons. 

Mr Norman said the location is important, as it would be a 24-hour access marina unlike  other Guernsey marinas, which have a tidal window.

The GMTA believes that the proposed new marina should be aimed at medium sized boats in the 35 to 55ft range.

"The Pool Marina is very important because it will also provide shelter to the visiting yachts currently accommodated on the swan pontoons and will provide shelter to the Victoria Marina," said Mr Norman. 

"These are exceptionally exposed to waves and swell from easterlies. This will allow them to be used as a secure and sheltered marina in the future especially in the winter.

"Guernsey is currently lagging well behind the competition"

"In the future this will be a benefit to Guernsey Harbours for revenue and the Guernsey marine trade for new servicing and maintenance work.

Mr Norman continued: "We also need to update the facilities available to visiting yachtsmen and provide facilities of a good standard comparable to the best around us, ie. Jersey, St Cast, Roscoff and the new marina being built at Carteret. Guernsey is currently lagging well behind."

On the design, Mr Norman said: "It is important that the scheme is built as large as possible and that the area that currently dries to the north of the Crown Pier towards No’s 8 and 9 berth, and round into the careening hard be also considered for use as a marina.

"This could also allow some berths to be let on short term two to five-year fixed term contracts to UK residents, thereby bring some additional visitor revenue to the island."

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Pictured: The amendment by Economic Development's Simon Vermeulen and Neil Inder will be laid at this week's debate on harbours, starting on Wednesday. 

In 2019 - the last full year that tourism was unaffected by the pandemic - there were 9,400 visiting yachts to Guernsey. The total revenue generated from these visits is estimated to be about £4.4m, including berthing fees.

That revenue could be doubled, according to Mr Norman.

"Our estimates are based on a marina of 412 berths. The Pool Marina and the shelter it gives to the Victoria Marina could generate new income for Guernsey Harbours of about £3m and provide a stimulus to hospitality businesses, retail and the marine trade of an additional £5m per annum.

"The Pool Marina is something that we could see built in the next three to four years and it would be of great benefit to the island."

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Pictured: The amendment forms part of a loaded billet that the States will start working its way through on Wednesday. 

The Inder/Vermuelen amendment was required to provide cost implications on the wider proposals to revolutionise Guernsey's harbours. 

"Information from Ports Management is an indicative capital cost of between £15m to £20m expenditure," the amendment states.

"However, if it is assumed that there is an annual 10% return from charges after the third- or fourth-year payback is within 13 to 14 years, net of any ongoing maintenance. As this is a revenue stream it is expected that the Board would fund it through either private capital or the States Bond."

Deputy Inder said the point of the amendment is to fast-track an idea that has been referenced by the STSB without any firm commitment. 

"The Board has given some general consideration to a ‘Pool Marina’ and we are led to believe that this is something that they are ‘looking at’," he said.

"There is no States direction nor indication from the Committee by statement or press release that a ‘Pool Marina’ is coming back to the States. This amendment provides an opportunity to the States to provide that direction and signals agreement from the Assembly that they consent to the Board’s aspirations, while setting out clear delivery timetables and delivery schedule."

The amendment and the wider proposals for the harbour will debated at the meeting starting on Wednesday.

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