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NEWS RELEASE · 17th January 2012
Victor Lick
To whom it may concern,

The MK Bay Marina User Group would like to bring public attention to the following matters:

Some of the information that follows is public information that is available from WorkSafeBC on request.

Information from the BC Safety Authority was obtained as a result of a Freedom of Information Request made by the MK Bay Marina Users Group to the BCSA.

Within the attached documents you will find Orders by BCSA and WSBC and information about the follow-up fines that have been levied against the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine for non-complience to repeatedly issued safety orders.

On Jan 9 2012 a telephone call to the BCSA, referencing our freedom of information request, revealed that no appeal had been made nor compliance met. The file was still unresolved. The fine at that point was $250 per day for 145 days for a total of $36,250. The fine is still growing by $250 per day.
There is also an outstanding Administrative Penalty Order, a fine, from WSBC citing non-compliance and wilful disregard of Orders that were first issued in 2007. That penalty presently stands at $39,708.23.

The Marina User Group had no hand in the creation of these serious matters but is very concerned that the underlying causes have not been dealt with. These matters should be of the utmost concern for the taxpayers of our region and we would like everyone to be made aware of what is happening. It is not clear who will eventually pay the fines.

To: RDKS Chair and Board of Directors

From: MK Bay Marina User Group

Subject: A Call for Change from the the MK Bay Marina User Group

MK Bay Marina User Group was incorporated as a Society on September 30 2007. Its purpose is to bring forward concerns regarding Safety, Security,Service and Communications on behalf of the boaters and tourists who use the MK Bay Marina. At this time, 95 of about 130 annual moorage clients and a number of day users are members of the MK Bay Marina User Group.

We are very concerned about our marina as it is the last public access we have to the Douglas Channel. It is priceless to our region and needs to stay in public hands and be treated like the jewel it should be.

Over the past 4 years, we have brought forward a large number of substantiated and legitimate concerns and recommendations. Last year, we presented the RDKS Function Committee with a viable five year budget plan which would have eliminated the $489,000 deficit in three years. We find the secrecy and lack of public consultation about the proposed marina partnership deal deplorable. Is this an Administration initiative?

We were welcomed and encouraged to participate with the RDKS Function Committee meeting, April 29 2008, chaired by Marilyn Davies. At our first meeting with the Function Committee, the need for a Policy Manual was discussed. It was not until 2011 that an existing Policy Manual for the Marina was brought forth by the Administration. It contains policies that address many of our concerns – policies that have been ignored by the administration and management. Had the manager stayed within the guide lines of the existing Marina Policy, we believe that we would not be in this unacceptable state of affairs: huge deficit, lawsuit, and unnecessary fines.

Why was the Marina Policy document kept from the Function Committees and from the Public for all these years?

Policy is the domain of the elected representatives, not the administration. Formulating or changing public policy should include consulting the concerned public.

The law suit by Snow Valley Marine Services was avoidable. Costs will likely be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Last year, the five-year budget forecast for the Marina included $80,000 per year for legal fees. These fees add absolutely no value to the Marina nor to the District. Unacceptable!

The poorly-maintained condition of the Marina, under its present Management, has resulted in the involvement of the Ministry of Environment, the B.C. Ombudsman, Work Safe B.C. and the B.C. Safety Authority.

On their own initiatives, WSBC and BCSA have levied fines due to non-compliance with legal orders that were issued repeatedly over a long period of time. These fines could have been avoided and compliance would have cost very little. Now fines must be paid and the Orders must still be complied with. These fines will cost tax payers nearly $100,000 dollars. Unacceptable! After reading the WSBC Order for Administrative Penalty, the question must be asked: “What kind of administrator and manager willfully put the lives of employees, clients, and public at risk with reckless disregard?”.

The Function Committee must not become complicit by condoning such actions.

The Administrator and Manager must be held accountable for their actions.

No reasonable employer would tolerate such actions and such underlying attitudes from an employee/manager. It is time for change! Victor Lick George Weeks and members of the MK Bay Marina User Group
KItimat Community Dock Project
Comment by DR on 19th January 2012
Kitimat needs is a centrally located dock with boat launching capability and a fuel dispensing service. The first solution however, is to approach the company or companies that own all the water front property and venture forward to come up with a viable plan to purchase a small slice of much needed local waterfront access. After all, what other vibrant coastal town does not have a dock? To assist in cost recovery we could even charge a user toll fee. Once that issue is resolved, we can then refocus on ways to expand our artificial and stifled downtown core.
Is it time to move my boat (and $$$)
Comment by Larry Walker on 18th January 2012
This has got to stop. Will the Board get off their butts and do their job (or quit and let someone who cares about the community take over).