Masset harbour in chaos, says charter operator

  • Apr. 30, 2003 7:00 a.m.

A Masset charter boat operator says the village’s harbour is in chaos, with no one paying moorage fees and owners tying up their vessels wherever they want.
Bret Johnston said the last straw came a few weeks ago, when he found that three signs advertising his charter business had been tossed behind a dumpster, along with several other signs at the harbour. He was told they were taken down because he hadn’t paid a $30 fee to have them posted.
But Mr. Johnston said he was never told about the $30 fee or given an opportunity to pay it.
“I’m trying to make a living off that dock, same as some other people, and it’s getting pretty hard,” he said. “I picked up $1,700 to $2,700 worth of business last year through those signs.”
Mr. Johnston appeared at Monday night’s council meeting (April 28), telling council members that they need to exert more control over the harbour.
It’s not clear exactly who is responsible for the harbour. Mr. Johnston said he spoke with an official at the federal department responsible for small craft harbours, and was told that the Masset harbour was taken over by a group called the Delkatla Slough Harbour Authority many years ago.
Council members and village administrator Trevor Jarvis were not familiar with the group. But they agreed that something must be done.
“Something’s got to be done to enhance that dock so it’s useful to all of us, to the tourists, and generates something for the village itself,” councillor Rollie Wheeler said. “Somebody has to sit down and talk and say let’s work this out.”
Council members voted to set up a meeting with small craft harbours and the Delkatla Slough Harbour Authority, and try to mediate a solution to the issues raised by Mr. Johnston.
Before he left the meeting, Mr. Johnston said he has found a solution to his signage problem.
“There’s always a way around everything,” he said. “A raft is a vessel, right… Well, there’s going to be raft tied up in the harbour, and it’s going to have advertising on it.”