Council Says They’re Not Capable Of Harbour Management Following Airport Experiences

st marys quay 2014The Council has said it will not take over the operation of St Mary’s Harbour from the Duchy of Cornwall.

Creating a municipal port, run by the local authority, was one of the three options put forward by the Duchy in their proposal document, which is currently out for public consultation.

They’ve been the Statutory Harbour Authority on St Mary’s for almost 120 years and announced their intention to transfer operations to a new body back in August.

That could be the Council, creating a ‘Trust Port’ run by a Board of Commissioners or handing it to a company to run commercially.

But at Tuesday’s Full Council meeting, members voted unanimously to reject taking on the responsibility.

Cllr Robert Dorrien Smith said it “wasn’t appropriate” comparing it to the situation at St Mary’s Airport, where he said the Council’s involvement was “instrumental in creating a high cost base.”

He said he couldn’t see why they’d want to stretch their resources any further.

That view was reflected by Cllr Andy Guy. Andy said the Council was already struggling with the airport. And should, “leave this alone” in the interests of the local community.

Cllr Richard McCarthy pointed out parallels with other Council-run services.

He said they had aready overreached themselves trying to be a public water supplier, the only one in the country and “probably the least able to do the job.”

Taking over the harbour would be “a step too far” said Richard.

Cllr Marian Bennett said there was a trend to transfer harbour operations out of local authority hands and into Trust Ports. She said they “shouldn’t go against this” while Cllr Gordon Bilsborough pointed out the potential financial liabilities of the operations.

Gordon said it would be like “signing an open ended cheque” and would result in the authority taking on additional enormous responsibilities on top of its other duties.

The Council’s Chief Executive, Theo Leijser, will now respond to the Duchy’s consultation with the views of councillors.

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