By Paul Gottlieb, February 12, 2014, Peninsula Daily News
An advisory committee will be established to address moorage-rate issues, slip occupancy and other concerns of hundreds of boat users at Port of Port Angeles marinas, commissioners unanimously decided Tuesday.
A proposed purpose and structure for the approximately 10- to 12-person panel will be presented at the commissioners’ next regular meeting at 9 a.m. Feb. 25 at the port administrative offices, 338 W. First St.
Info in statements
Boat owners who are billed by the port for marina use will receive information about the committee and a solicitation for participation in the group in their March statements.
Boat owners occupy 468 slips at the Port Angeles Boat Haven and John Wayne Marina out of 742 available slips, according to the port’s operations report for January.
The Boat Haven has far lower occupancy, at 57 percent, than John Wayne Marina’s 72 percent.
Information on the committee also will be available on the port’s website at www.portofpa.com for other marina users such as those who haul boats to marina facilities.
Commissioner John Calhoun urged establishment of a stated purpose and structure for the committee.
He said he had concerns that the committee model presented by interim Executive Director Ken O’Hollaren was too vague.
O’Hollaren and Airport and Marina Manager Jerry Ludke had used the Port of Everett’s marina advisory committee as the basis for O’Hollaren’s presentation at Tuesday’s meeting.
The Everett committee is an informal group that meets quarterly, has no charter or bylaws and “focuses on how to create synergies for promoting the area,” O’Hollaren said.
That was not enough for Calhoun, who saw the Everett committee creating a general stage for a free exchange of ideas and communication between the port and its marina tenants, he said.
Calhoun said he believes Port of Port Angeles tenants have more specific purposes in mind.
“It’s stating the obvious to say they want to talk about rates and other conditions in the marina,” he said.
Monthly increases Jan. 1 included hikes from $5.50 to $5.52 a linear foot for boats 20-29 feet long, from $6.10 to $6.57 for boats 40-49 feet and a spike from $6.65 to $7.62 for boats 60 feet and longer.
Owners of 45-foot boats saw an increase of $21.15 a month, or $253.80 a year.
Commission President Jim Hallett, who had said last year he wanted to work with disaffected marina users to mend fences with the port, called for a broad charter for the committee.
“The purpose of the committee is the whole operation, are we maximizing our marina in the best possible way we can,” he said.
William Spring, a Boat Haven slip-renter and a leader of People for the Responsible Operation of the Port — which has objected to moorage rate hikes — said there were three important areas the committee should cover: rate structure, effective marketing to rebuild occupancy in the Boat Haven and marina amenities as they bear on attracting new tenants and bringing back former tenants.