You would think the subject would be dead by now, but it won’t die. Once again, Council were asked to consider a report on options for lifting boats out of the Harbour at the end of the season and one of the options was a Travel Lift. Ted Williams spotted it on the Agenda of the Committee of the Whole Meeting on Monday and made a presentation that objected to the idea – his concern was that the cost would be subsidized by taxpayers who would not be using the service. Ted pointed out that the big advantage of a Travel Lift is that it could be used at any time and not just at the start and ending of a season – but there are problems. See summary of his report below.
Summary of Shoreplan Report
See links below for full report and Staff cover memo
- A summary of existing lift-in/lift-out by crane is provided. It was noted that operation on the East Pier is not safe and that the Harbour North and East wall areas will need to be upgraded – no additional cost other than upgrade of Harbour walls – $50K to $100K.
- Option of a Self-Propelled Trailer – cost approx. $530K including dredging and ramp extension. It has the advantage of being useable at any time.
- Option of a Travel Lift – cost approx. $770K including dredging and ramp upgrades.
- Disadvantages of the Travel lift include that it needs a storage location – specifically “Due to its size and visibility it may not be well received by the public so a location that is out of sight would be advisable if at all possible.”
Summary of Ted Williams Comments/Objections
Ted was representing the Cobourg Taxpayers Association
- A travel-lift can provide haul out and launch at any time – this benefits boaters.
- The Cobourg marina facility operates on a user pay basis being wholly funded from fees received for rentals and usage.
- The Marina reserve fund, at the end of this year, is essentially at zero dollars.
- There is a $1.25M shortfall attributed to the projected replacement costs of C, D, E and F docks, within the next ten to fifteen years.
- Our harbour has used a crane for over 100 years – accident free to any one’s memory.
- If Cobourg undertakes the purchase and operation of a travel-lift, the Town can expect increased insurance premiums and possibly be responsible for the full damage award if an insurer can find a means to decline coverage. What are the increased costs that will result?
- To garner many of the benefits of a travel-lift, boats will need to be moved at any time. A new storage yard will have to provide sufficient space for roads (called fairways) to access each boat. Currently boats are “sardined” into the storage lot with inches separating them (50-60 boats). The current yard would have to be enlarged to perhaps 3 times its current size. An obvious solution is to winter “active” boats in the trailer park – which empties at the precise week the boats are hauled out.
- A financial analysis by others shows that the crane produces about a $5K profit and the travel-lift would show a loss of about a $50k per year. This was based on lifting 100 boats (currently it’s 50 boats). Our Marina makes about $ 75K profit per year, which is needed to pay for capital repairs and additions.
- Can we find an experienced and qualified heavy equipment operator and will they be full-time staff? Will this operator be available in a timely manner?
- It’s really all about money (taxes). At the CCC, taxpayers are spending $1M a year to keep it operating not including the building mortgage which is still not paid off. We assume it is always good to consider all options so one gets the Big Picture, but where is this money coming from? Giving it an honest look, we are convinced, the travel-lift should not be considered as an option, and should, at this time, be taken off the table.
Comments and Action by Councillors
- Councillor Brian Darling criticised Ted’s concern with liability as being speculative. He also said that Cobourg already has heavy equipment operators on staff.
- Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin said that continuing with the crane method was the only way to keep the Marina self-sufficient.
- Brian Darling said that a Travel Lift may be needed 5, 10 or 20 years in the future but not now.
- Adam Bureau commented that the annual crane lift-in/out attracted spectators.
- Councillor Emily Chorley said that the current crane method was the most efficient. Her motion included a directive to staff to “include upgrades to the north and east seawalls in the Harbour design plans to facilitate the safe use of the crane for boat·lifting.” Her motion was approved.
- Report by Shoreplan on Boat Lifting Options
- Memo from Staff: Cobourg Marina Boat Lifting Options Analysis Report
- Submission by Ted Williams
- Most Cobourg Blog Recent Report – 12 March 2021