Mooring buoys and bridge fees on the horizon

24/08/2021

Infrastructure improvements, new mooring buoys and Sandy Ground Bridge: new fees for boaters on the horizon.


Mooring buoys and bridge fees on the horizon

The mooring buoy project


French-side Port Authority Managing Director Albéric Ellis says a commission has begun analyzing offers from bids submitted by companies for installation of eighty mooring buoys in the Bay of Marigot, which will be extended to Grand Aerial view of Marigot Bay.

Mooring buoys are soon to be installed in the bay. Case and Cul-de-Sac in the future.

Anchorage fees are currently mostly concentrated in the Bay of Marigot, but not charged on the entire French territory. The mooring buoys will have a different fee, generating revenue for the Port and the Collectivité, but they will also serve to enhance environmental protection and provide better organisation in the bay.

They will also change somewhat the perception that the French side fees in the marine sector are generally lower than those on the Dutch side. “Fees put in place in Marigot are not purposely done to be lower than the Dutch side to gain some competitive advantage,” Ellis emphasized. “We have fees based on cost and a certain amount of structure that has to be respected. Some of the fees on some vessels, depending on size, are cheaper on the French side and higher on the Dutch side. But it’s not done to attract more vessels to the French side.”

The mooring buoy project for Marigot, budgeted at around 800,000 to 900,000 euros, is 70 per cent financed by European funding. It is envisaged to have these buoys installed in the bay before December. “There is a reflection going on [as to – Ed.] how we should extend anchorage fees to other zones,” Ellis said. “We know the destination is a major market for yachting and companies or persons are profiting from this. Governments, whether French or Dutch, are not getting their rightful share. Because you are profiting from our destination, to cruise or sell services, it’s understandable that we should generate revenue from this. But it also means infrastructure has to be [installed] or improved to warrant those fees.”


The Sandy Ground Bridge


A case in point is the Sandy Ground Bridge renovation. The Collectivité has asked the Port to study implementation of a fee structure for vessels using the bridge. Inevitably, the Collectivité wants to recoup cost from its huge investment in the bridge. “Once the bridge renovation is finished, the management of the daily operations and management will be transferred to the Port Authority. We will also have to look into how to generate revenue to cover bridge maintenance and insurance for the structure,” Ellis said.


Lagoon clean-up


With regard to clean-up of Simpson Bay Lagoon, a decision will be made to award the contract for boat-wreck removal on the French side, the first step in the clean-up, hopefully by September. Once wrecks have been removed from the French side of the lagoon (the company Koole has almost finished removing wrecks from the Dutch-side part), this will pave the way for studying the environmental and economic aspects of the lagoon, with a view to its joint management.


More on the horizon...


Ellis said funds for the European INTERREG programme 2014-2020 were made available for both sides of the island, but unfortunately were not all used. The funds will now be re-injected into the 2021-2027 programme, permitting environmental studies to be carried out and implementing a joint management structure. “Simpson Bay Lagoon has enormous potential, for both French and Dutch sides, but to be able to profit from this potential the lagoon needs to be cleaned up and better organized,” Ellis said. “You have a number of commercial activities going on that should better profit both sides. There are day-cruisers in the lagoon, vessels at anchor [and] charter vessels traversing the lagoon to go to and from the airport. They are not doing that for free.

Source: The Daily Herald - Author: Robert Luckock - Original article attached.
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