A marina process that sank a decade ago because of community opposition could potentially resurface.
In 2003, the Fraser River Port Authority approached the city about building a docking facility on a city-owned property on the waterfront. The proposed dock would have been about 30 metres (100 feet) long and provide a place where boats could dock during the day.
The dock, which was on the Fraser River near the foot of 10th Street, was rejected unanimously by the city council of the day following a long and loud public hearing, in which Quayside residents expressed concern about the dock being close to their homes and the potential noise, air pollution and nuisance concerns that it could create.
The New Westminster Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown New Westminster Business Improvement Society both supported the plan, suggesting the city would benefit from having docking facilities on the waterfront.
Port Metro Vancouver officials attended a recent council meeting to discuss a proposed coal transfer facility at Fraser Surrey Docks, which is located across the Fraser River from Westminster Quay.
Coun. Chuck Puchmayr asked the visitors to reconsider a proposal for a small dock facility on the city's waterfront.
"To me, it was a brilliant idea," he said. "Somehow it was not communicated well and it created a lot of anxiety. There was a lot of misinformation that started buzzing around from the community."
Puchmayr said the timing could be right for a small wharf on the waterfront, which is now home to Westminster Pier Park. He also noted that Fraser River Discovery Centre is set to expand and the civic centre is being built nearby.
"It was a docking facility for small pleasure crafts that really would have been an advantage to New Westminster," he said. "I am wondering if your authority can take another look at possibly bringing that back and working on something. .There would be a real opportunity there to attract another type of client to the city and that's the small craft owner."
Tom Corsie, Port Metro Vancouver's vice president of real estate, recalled that the port authority thought a small dock would benefit the waterfront.
"We found a couple of locations on the New Westminster waterfront that we thought would makes some sense," he said. "There was a small investment - we are talking about a $100,000 project or something like that."
Corsie said the backlash from the community took the port authority by surprise.
"We were quite happy to say if that's not what you want, we don't need to build that," he said. "It was just a suggestion."
Corsie told council that the port authority would be open to talking about the potential for a dock facility somewhere on New Westminster's waterfront.
Mayor Wayne Wright suggested that city staff contact Corsie about potential marina opportunities on the waterfront.
When the project was first proposed in 2003, it had a tight timeline to get the city's rezoning approval, as there was a limited time to secure funding from the port authority for the project.
Because of the timeline, concerns were raised about the process being rushed and being held in the summertime.
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