McNeill floats harbour increases

A special committee of the whole meeting was held Monday, Oct. 17 regarding Port McNeill's harbour rates.

A special committee of the whole meeting was held Monday, Oct. 17 before Port McNeill’s regular town council meeting, where a report on the current harbour rates from Harbour Manager, Pete Nelson- Smith, was the topic of heated discussion.

“There was probably 20 people who showed up,” said Port McNeill Mayor Shirley Ackland, adding that many of the people in attendance were “harbour users, and some who were previously on the harbour committee. There was a lot of information for everyone to digest.”

In his report, Nelson-Smith stated that “on May 12, 2016, Mayor and Council directed staff to have a comprehensive review of the current harbour rates in relation to other harbours and provide suggestions for changing rates and bylaws.”

Port McNeill staff “collected data from harbours and marinas along the coast and compared those rates to the current rates of the Port McNeill Harbour,” wrote Nelson-Smith, adding that “when establishing revised rates and/or policy changes, staff looked at the current rates to try and ensure that the proposed changes are not too abstract. Current use of the harbour, location and services was also taken into consideration.”

Nelson-Smith added that the desired outcome for the harbour rates is “to have a thorough and fair fee setting schedule that also allows for development of the harbour and services provided.”

Port McNeill council made the decision to hold a public consultation regarding the harbour rates on Monday, Nov. 21, at 6 p.m. “It was a quite lively committee of the whole,” said Mayor Ackland, adding that she personally felt the town needed “an opportunity to digest the material and come back with their questions in a public meeting.”