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CONTRIBUTION · 19th August 2014
John Eckstein
I am writing this open letter to express my concern over the possible sale of MK Bay Marina.

I have been using this marina for over ten years both as a private boater and a part-time charter operator. I was aware of some of the conflict that took place between the former manager and clientele over the past decade. Recently under new management, I have never seen the marina run safer, more organized, and with more competent staff as I do at the present time. I have been at this marina almost every day this past July and every day in August and the competency of present staff has been remarkable given the blockade by the Haisla of the former parking and camping space adjacent to the marina and the forced eviction of dry docked boats owned by people for years at that site. This blockade has also forced people to park their cars and boat trailers on the road or leave the area entirely in what many have seen as an effort to force the sale of the marina to the Haisla. This has resulted in an unsafe traffic situation on the roadway.

Under the current system this marina runs from revenue derived from its operations, and has not been supported by tax payer dollars since 1995. At the present time the marina is owned and controlled by the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine. The recent Regional District meeting on Friday, August 8th revealed what little support this Regional District has for the marina and the lack of consideration for the value local people have for this facility. What they do see is the funds they could acquire for their own agenda if it is sold. People sitting for the Regional District have no stake in this facility and yet have the power to control its future. I say let the people of Kitimat in on the decision making process as to what is to be done as they do have a stake. At the very least make it an open process so the public knows what is going on and allow public input on what should be done. At present all decision making is at in-camera sessions with Regional District personnel.

If the misguided decision is made to give this public facility up to a private entity there should certainly be conditions attached to the sales contract:

1. Current marina fee structure should remain intact and in line with other similar public facilities in the Northwest

2. Current staff should remain in place

3. Public access with present levels of private and commercial clientele maintained

4. Annual moorage clientele contracts maintained and respected

Should the sale of this marina pass with no conditional attachments, I can foresee a repeat of forced evictions of current clientele for the private agenda of a select group. Kitimat will lose a valuable asset that has been a part of this community for decades. This will be a repeat of what occurred with the forced eviction of boaters and closure of the Kitimat Yacht Club and Moon Bay Marina by Rio Tinto Alcan for its own purposes a few years ago.

John Eckstein
Kitimat Resident
Well worded roguemc
Comment by CC on 12th September 2014
I couldn't agree more.
I don't agree with Eckstein
Comment by anonymouse on 9th September 2014
" It might surprise you to know that on these reservations the Crown owns the land on which their houses sit. Think about that when you sit on 'your' lawn worrying about where you're going to park your boat." Has to be the best thing I've read in defense of the First Nation's. Thank you Roguemc.

Where was all this talk of fairness when the land that your boat sits on was taken from the Haisla? So everyone else is allowed to make money off Haisla Territory BUT the Haisla? Sounds a little too much like a Stephen Harper mindset to me.

Stop trying to rile up the masses in this us them rhetoric.
mk bay marina
Comment by kelly on 22nd August 2014
with all the negativity about the possible sale of the marina, i believe it is time for the village to pull out of the negotiations. and while doing so, disconnect the water and sewer lines and let it become the way it was before the village took started servicing this marina!
never happy
Comment by roguemc on 21st August 2014
There is always two sides to an argument. One argument we have all heard is how Natives are getting this for free and that for free. Some see their involvement with LNG as a sellout due to environmental issues. Others have a problem with Casinos popping up. So to see opposition to purchasing this marina to provide revenue for the village comes as no surprise. All the years that those boats were dry docked on their land, the parking and camp spots...all taken for granted. Where was the appreciation then? I never heard a thing about it till the "Forced evictions" what ever...maybe the Haisla have learned a thing or two from those who corralled and fenced them in on 'their' reservations. It might surprise you to know that on these reservations the Crown owns the land on which their houses sit. Think about that when you sit on 'your' lawn worrying about where you're going to park your boat.
Some people need to make up their minds, do we want Natives to be able to sustain themselves with their own money or do we want to support them with our tax dollars?
Well said!
Comment by FayEllen McFarlane on 20th August 2014
Well said! I agree with what you are saying.
MK Bay Marina
Comment by Jack Riddle on 20th August 2014
Well written letter John and good for you responding to the terrible situation with MK Bay Marina/Kitimat Regional District and Kitimat's only access to the ocean, MK Bay Marina. I too believe that the marina is about to be sold without any input from the residents of Kitimat and virtually no response from our local counsel. This "in camera" business is terrible, we have a right to know what is happening with out local facilities and decisions being made concerning them. The fact we have people from other communities making decisions on our behalf while admitting them know nothing about MK Bay is incredibly wrong! I have even heard rumors that our local counsel has been approached about this sale and supposedly have given their approval.

Yes, we have better management now but we sure have a long way to go. The office staff are great and deserve accolades for performance under stress. Now we just need to get staff to worry about the condition of the docks and not so much whether vehicles are tagged and parked appropriately - the docks are falling apart and will be hard pressed to make it through another winter. So, could someone please explain why the regional district will not spend money on repairs.

What a shame it will be if all the rumors are true and MB Bay Marina is sold!

Jack Riddle
MK Bay it the peole's or private?
Comment by Larry Walker on 20th August 2014
I totally agree with this letter to the editor. And would only add that once sold, it becomes a totally for profit operation and in my books will be run accordingly (maybe not immediately but over time).

It should and must not be "sold" to any third party and if it must change hands it must be given to DOK and no one else. It was original bought with my tax dollars and should remain in my hands for all future generations.