The Chief Minister has said public money should not be spent on a new pool marina.
Deputy Peter Ferbrache made the claim during yesterday’s tax review presentation after a member of the public watching the Facebook livestream asked: “Why are we wasting £90m on the new pool marina for rich boat owners?”
“In the economic times that we are in, speaking again for myself not for anybody else, I cannot see that public money would be invested in that,” he said.
“I think the idea is a good one, but we’ve got to get someone else to pay for it. Say the private sector."
He added the project would be a “boon for Guernsey” and an investor would want something in return, such as “a 25-year lease”.
But he struggled to see how “the States of Guernsey, with all the pressures that it’s got on its budgetary requirements - both capital and revenue - is going to be able to provide much or any of that £90m”.
Pictured: The plans would make the marina accessible at all times no matter the tide.
Speaking on the tax panel, Deputy Peter Roffey, President of the STSB, reiterated that The States have not yet agreed to spend tens of millions of pounds upgrading the marina, and were simply directed to investigate such a project.
This originated from a successful amendment from Economic Development Deputies Neil Inder and Simon Vermeulen instructed the States Trading Supervisory Board to scope the work and come back to the States with proposals.
At the time, they suggested such a project could cost around £20-30m.
In November 2022, Guernsey Ports unveiled initial proposals for the project which included two new breakwaters and hundreds of extra berths for local and visiting boatowners for a likely cost of £90m.
But this is only an initial estimate, and the true cost could be more or less than predicted based on the variable market cost of construction and additional income streams which could be realised.
Deputy Roffey commended the project for making a proper use of the marina and “would really like to see it happen, but in the present circumstances it is going to come down to a really hard-headed economic analysis of will Guernsey be better off financially or would it cost more than it would actually bring in”.
“The States will have to make a decision whether the broader economic benefit of that project to the islands economy as a whole is worth justifying the other 40 or 50% that goes into it.”
The STSB, Guernsey Ports and Guernsey Boatowners’ Association agree that up to 50% of the cost could be covered by commercial returns such as mooring fees, growth in the marine services industry and other landside business opportunities.
Pictured: Deputy Murray implied that public money which could be spent on a pool marina would be better used upgrading the deteriorating essential harbour infrastructure.
Deputy Ferbrache added that the project “would have to show clear economic benefits and be well on the plus side” before public money is injected into it.
P&R member Deputy Bob Murray also said that “we need that money to invest in essential infrastructure rather than what some might see as a vanity project,” such as the passenger and freight aspects of Town's harbour.
“But that could very well be a business opportunity for a private investor… so there are different ways of cutting that cake to achieve our objectives.”
A policy letter for the future of the St. Peter Port commercial harbour is expected to return to the States imminently, with the policy letter for the pool marina touted to be debated in March.
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