The District of Port Hardy has declined a request from the Port Hardy RCMP for waiver of annual moorage fee, plus a reserved moorage space for its 24-foot patrol vessel.
At its last council meeting, a staff report on the issue was submitted by Chief Financial Officer Lynda Sowerby.
Sowerby’s report stated that “The RCMP currently store the patrol vessel at the detachment during the winter months, and launch the boat as required. During the summer months, the boat is left in the water, and they pay moorage and hydro fees with a local provider. The RCMP budget for the moorage expenditure is being reduced, therefore the local detachment options are to trailer the boat year-round or move the vessel to the Port Alice harbour where they will be provided free moorage.”
Sowerby noted that the District “has surveyed local municipalities requesting information on RCMP vessel fees” and listed the results as such:
1) Port McNeill- Multiyear contract for moorage, power & parking — charged a premium rate for reserved moorage;
2) Alert Bay — Annual fee at the commercial rate, $1,400;
3) Zeballos — municipal dock, everyone pays the Fees & Charges Bylaw rates — no exceptions;
4) Zeballos — RCMP & Coast Guard currently moor at Small Craft Harbour, operated by the
Harbour Authority (HA) — waiting for feedback from HA; and
5) Powell River — RCMP pays moorage at the commercial rate, $1,560 plus hydro, $635. Coast
Guard leases a reserved spot at the commercial rate and pays metered hydro rates.
“The District must consider that other provincial and federal agencies, such as the coast guard, may make a similar request,” noted Sowerby. “If free moorage is offered to one agency, it becomes difficult to exclude others.”
She added that the patrol boat is not for the exclusive use of Port Hardy residents.
“The local detachment provides RCMP members, support staff and resources for the District as well as the surrounding area including First Nations, Regional District, and Port Alice. A funding formula is used by the RCMP to determine the portion of police tax levy that each community contributes for RCMP services. The District of Port Hardy taxpayers were levied $186,602 in 2019 for their portion of RCMP services.”
Lost revenue for annual moorage is $1,298 and a hydro fee of $732 for a total of $2,030 per year.
Sowerby then listed options for the district to consider, which are as follows:
1) Deny the request and provide a letter of support for the RCMP local detachment to receive a budget allotment for moorage and hydro fees;
2) Provide a reserved moorage location at the current User Rates and Fees Bylaw rate; or
3) Council to provide other direction.
According to chief administrative officer Allison McCarrick, council denied the request but did direct staff “to provide a letter of support for the RCMP local detachment to receive a budget allotment for moorage and hydro fees and to provide a reserved moorage location at Fisherman’s Wharf at the current User Rates and Fees Bylaw rate.”