The creation of a new, all tide accessible marina in St Peter Port Harbour could be a boost the local economy, as well as addressing the existing shortage of berths for local boat owners.
Last year the States voted to investigate a development in the area outside the existing Albert and Victoria Marinas, known as the Pool. Guernsey Ports has since carried out a range of technical studies, to assess the feasibility of a scheme and develop an initial outline design.
Islanders are now being asked for their views on the principle of a new marina in St Peter Port, so any feedback can be reflected when proposals are presented to the States next year. However, any recommendation on whether or not it goes ahead is likely to depend on whether the multi-million-pound investment can be paid back and provide a return for the island in the long-term. That would be through a combination of additional income to Guernsey Ports, from mooring fees, and the wider value to the local economy that a new marina development would bring, which would benefit the whole island.
Initial assessment puts the construction costs at up to £90 million, although Guernsey Ports is keen to stress those are preliminary estimates. Further work is being carried out to refine the costings and evaluate the potential additional income derived from the berthing fees, as well as the wider financial benefits to the island, before making any recommendations.
Those benefits include a boost to the visitor economy through the improved leisure marine offering, new opportunities for the local marine services sector, and the potential to attract high net worth individuals to relocate here.
Currently the Pool is deep enough in some places that vessels remain afloat at low tide, and surveys confirm the depth of critical areas can be increased by dredging.
Therefore, unlike all other local marina berths, anyone with a mooring in a new Pool development would not be restricted in when they can come and go. Combined with walk ashore access, which most current Pool moorings do not have, this would be a major improvement on Guernsey Ports’ offering to most boat owners and visitors.
A new development will also provide the opportunity to improve facilities for both visiting boat owners and local mooring holders. It would create more than 200 additional berths, primarily for medium or larger sized boats, which are currently in very short supply and high demand. The existing marinas were constructed when most vessels in Guernsey were less than 8m long, and many owners have since upgraded, or would like to.
The outer breakwater of the new marina would also provide protection to other areas of the harbour, its infrastructure and the seafront.
This includes the Victoria Marina, between the Albert and Crown Piers, which is used for visiting yachts. It cannot currently be used consistently in the winter months, because sea conditions are too rough. With the additional shelter of a new breakwater it could be used year-round, extending the visitor season, and providing a facility for ‘over-wintering’ vessels which would generate more revenue.
The areas around the Careening Hard and Fishermens’ Quay would also be reorganised to provide additional mooring spaces and improve the overall layout within the harbour. Opportunities for upgrades extend to commercial users such as fishermen and small ferry operators. The benefits will therefore not just be for leisure marine users.
At this stage, the public consultation only concerns the water space within the harbour, not the landside arrangements. The use of the adjacent land areas, including the current piers, North Beach and Castle Emplacement, will be the subject of a separate public consultation. That consultation will help the development of a detailed Local Planning Brief for the area from La Vallette to Salerie Corner, and is expected to begin next year.
The Policy & Resources Committee is expected to present options for the island’s future commercial port facilities for debate by the States by the end of the year. The concept scheme developed for the Pool Marina is designed to accommodate any of these.
A public drop-in session, where members of the project team will be on hand to answer questions, will be held in the harbour terminal on the New Jetty. This will be from 12pm to 7pm on Friday 4th November, and from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 5th November.