REPORTING · 29th August 2014
The MK Bay Marina issue came up at Council on August 18th. On August 8th, the issue came up at the Regional District Meeting of Kitimat Stikine where a referendum had been proposed to gather information on how the public feels about selling or giving away MK Bay Marina.
Information about whatever was going on behind the scenes was kept to a minimum at that time, but it was clear that something was happening.
At Kitimat Council on the 18th, Rick Flegel stepped forward to present to Council about the future of the Marina. Flegel explained he has lived in Kitimat for most of his life.
“I am asking Council and the District of Kitimat to involve themselves in the sale of MK Bay and to ensure that the marina remains a marina and that wording that we should be having, that we see in the area contract between the Regional District and the buyer, that service fees and what have you, remain comparable to other marinas in the province,” said Flegel. “I feel that people out there are asking questions and nobody knows what the answers are.”
He said he felt that Kitimat was let down at the Regional District Meeting on the 8th. He felt nothing came out of the meeting and the marina is a big part of the community. People expect there to be a marina in Kitimat. He stated the District and Council should be involved in the negotiations.
Mayor Joanne Monaghan called upon CAO Ron Poole to give an explanation. Poole stated he talked with a representative of the Regional District earlier in the day and he asked if Poole could forward any concerns to him.
“As Council is aware, it is a closed item, but we do share Mr. Flegel’s concerns in terms of how that marina is operated. I have no problems taking any of your concerns forward and hopefully, Council will give me that direction later,” said Poole.
Councillor Phil Germuth thanked Flegel for the presentation and hoped the rest of the Council had been hearing concerns from the public on this issue, because no one knows.
“There were six conditions put on the sale but I can’t tell you what they were. But, I can tell you that as wording for it to have a comparable service fees to other marines of similar amenities, etc., none of that is in there unfortunately. The other disappointing thing is those six conditions were actually debated and voted on at a Regional District meeting when there was no Kitimat representation there. It’s the only meeting in 3 years where we didn’t have a representative because Council was flying back from the LNG conference that day so we didn’t make the meeting and didn’t actually know that they had debated that,” said Germuth
He expressed the marina was a Regional District asset, not Kitimat’s marinas. However, Kitimat gets the most use out of it. He said it is disappointing that Kitimat was not involved in the negotiations. Flegel and Monaghan agreed.
Councillor Mario Feldhoff informed the audience that Councillor Germuth is Kitimat’s representative on the Regional District and the Council passes their concerns to the RDKS through him. He agreed with the concerns.
“We used to have three marinas and now we are down to one,” said Feldhoff.
“This is Kitimat’s Marina,” said Flegel. “We lose it, it’s gone, and it’s just in wording, simple wording. I think that we should be involved and sitting there and making sure they are protecting us here.”
He stated the Directors on the Regional District represent their areas. “They don’t really care what happens here… that’s how I felt,” said Flegel. “A person from the Nass of Hazelton, they’re not really concerned about… ‘let’s get rid of it. The sooner we get rid of it the better.’ That’s how I came away from it with that thought. I’m saying: ‘that’s wrong.’ This whole thing comes down to: the Regional District should be looking after our interests too, here in Kitimat. That’s why I’m saying, Council and District, we should be looking after this and saying: Hey, this is an important item for us.”
Monaghan cut him off to agree with him. She said Kitimat only has one vote on the Regional District. This means when things come up, there will be people who do not care about Kitimat’s interests and our one representative only has one vote.
Councillor Phil Germuth stated the marina is public, not private. People have boats, expensive or not. “They’re just going to wake up one day and find out it’s sold. Maybe it is going to be run better than it ever has and maybe this is going to happen but nobody knows that,” said Germuth.
He said a motion was put forward for a public meeting to inform residence and boaters and inform them. The problem is, everything is in camera.
Flegel agreed, maybe things will be changed to better then what Kitimat has today. However, he asked: “What if it’s not?”
Goffinet stated Council agrees with his concerns. He asked if there were any specific concerns which he was worried about. Flegel told him it was a contract and the wording within the contract is what is important.
“What’s important is that it remains a marina open to the public. Number 2, I see, is that any user fees are comparable to the rest of the marinas in the province,” said Flegel. “Also, you don’t want a marina that is run down. […] It has to be run like a marina.”
Goffinet asked what Flegel would consider to be a better marina.
“Better access. A marina has to be run as a marina. Maybe the fee structure would go down. Who knows. Could be all kinds of things,” said Flegel.
He admitted he did not know who was going to buy it, but he did not want to see a hotel. He wanted to see a public marina for Kitimat.
This topic came up under new business. Councillor Phil Germuth made a motion take the concerns from the public to the Regional District regarding the conditions of a sale of MK Bay Marina. Mayor Joanne Monaghan stated this would be beyond a letter which the Council has already written.
The motion was called and carried.
most taxpayers dont even own a boat
Comment by roguemc on 2nd September 2014
Unless you have had dealings like I have with reserves around our province and through out Canada, you might take for granted the relationship that we enjoy with the Haisla people. Its upsetting to see how someone can start a rumour for the sake of their own agenda, already we have someone taking the bait and firing back. That's just how it starts...
I'm a Taxpayer and the majority of taxpayers here in Kitimat don't even own a boat, so please don't start putting words in our mouths about us not wanting to sell. Has anyone been out to the Kitamaat marina lately? I think they are running a tidy operation over there. So don't worry about it. The Haisla have the right, just as any of us to free enterprise. Now if we can just do the same with ICBC...
Comment by J Cruijff on 2nd September 2014
If it comes to the point that the Haisla will cut off the water and sewage to the marina because they are not getting their way, that would create a whole new ballgame.
The old hospital site slated for development will need the same services as the marina, good luck running that project with bottled water and porto potties. That door swings both ways.
If the taxpayers of Kitimat do not want to sell the marina then so be it and no negotiations are necessary.
Comment by kelly on 30th August 2014
with all the negativity about the possible sale of the marina, i think it's time for the village to let it go and forget about purchasing it. apparently the towns people are very opposed to this sale. and in doing so, cancel the water and sewer agreement they have with the marina. let it go back to the condition it was before the village started servicing it. it was a second rate marina that depended on rain water to have some running water.
Maybe loss of MK marina
Comment by GHary Haupt on 29th August 2014
The Regional District, of which there are 27 in BC, are an arm of the BC Government. If people want to have any influence at all on the matter of the MK Marina, they will need to stop depending on 'others' and involve those that can effect a change in the manner in which this is being dealt with. Call or E mail our MLA, Robin Austin ,,, 250-632-9886, robin.austin.mla,,,leg.bc.ca. and demand that the public be made aware of what is occurring behind the closed doors.