Nanaimo Marina Association's report on the Port Authority

 Nanaimo Marina Association

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 Nanaimo Marina Association report regarding Port Authority now made public

Comprehensive and informative report is in response to request for submissions by Transport Canada for Ports Modernization Review Process

The Nanaimo Marina Association (NMA) has released its submission to Transport Canada in response to the federal government’s request for submissions for the Port Modernization Review Process.

The NMA report is comprehensive, providing details on the challenges and shortcomings of the Nanaimo Port Authority structure, how and why Nanaimo continues to be one of Canada’s worst performing Ports and the effect of the Authority’s approach to Port management on the local economy and especially Port users and private operators.

Now available to the public, this document responds to Canada’s questions on what challenges exist for Port Authorities and how they can be made better. With specific focus on Nanaimo, the NMA report outlines the weak economic structures and conditions, poor relationships with First Nations, and the damaging business decisions that Port Authority officials have made in its nearly three-decade history.

“It is extremely rare and unprecedented to see the inner working of the Nanaimo Port Authority spotlighted to this degree. We firmly believe it is in the public’s interest to know how our Port operates, and more specifically, to pull the curtain back on the Nanaimo Port Authority’s operations,” said Odai Sirri, president of the Nanaimo Marina Association.

“This report is meant to educate government, the community and future decision makers on how to fix the problems with our Port. We sincerely hope the government reads this report, takes the findings seriously, and makes meaningful, substantial changes to how Ports are governed,” he added.

In Spring 2018, the federal government through Transport Canada, had requested submissions from across Canada for the Ports Modernization Review Process announced by Minister Marc Garneau. Although the deadline for submissions was December 2018, the government has yet to announce its findings or recommendations.

Findings of the report include:

1) For nearly a decade, the Nanaimo Port Authority (NPA) has been one of two ports in Canada that consistently loses money.

2) The NPA has consistently failed to foster a positive relationship with First Nations and frequently tramples over treaty rights of Snuneymuxw First Nation.

3) Economic development in Nanaimo has been hampered due to the Port’s inability to work with the local community for mutual economic benefit.

4) The NPA relies on federal funding and grants for mega projects in order to fund the agency’s own existence.

5) The NPA attempted to block a federal contract to remove a derelict vessel - and then later attempted to blame First Nations for the Port’s own mishandling of the matter.

6) Procurement process is tainted as security contracts are awarded based on commissions the NPA can receive from the vendor, by promoting the product to other Ports in Canada.

7) The NPA has created an anti-competitive environment with high lease rates that are more than double the Provincial average.

8) The NPA operates as Landlord, Competitor, and Regulator, thereby giving itself an unfair advantage over industry, and is an alleged abuse of its dominant position.

9) The taxpayer funded Nanaimo Cruise Ship Terminal cost $25 million to construct and has been an abysmal failure. Less than a handful of cruise ships arrive in Nanaimo on any given year, and after less than five years of operations, the steel piling structure has experienced approximately 40% corrosion due to inadequate zinc protections on the structure, resulting in major repair costs.

10) The federal government has an opportunity to reorganize how small ports in Canada are governed, and several solutions have been provided in this report.

For media inquiries, please contact Odai Sirri, President – Nanaimo Marina Association

Email: odai.sirri@waterfrontnanaimo.com