Marina issues: First it was insurance - now its a crane operator strike. The question some are asking - what do you do with a drunken sailor?

By Pepper Parr

May 17th, 2022



There will be a detailed report on how council and city staff will do their best to get boats into the water at the LaSalle Park Marina. For today – look at what the issues were and how Council worked their way through what is a messy problem.

The major issue was not being able to get insurance coverage.

What made their situation just that more dicey was the strike by crane operators.

One of the things that about this story is that information slips out in bits and pieces.

We did not know that the LaSalle Park Marina Association (LPMA) pays the city a license fee of $159,000 a year for the wave break. What does the city do with that money? Do they put it back into the hydro reserve fund it was taken from?

While Tim Commisso, city manager doesn’t want to operate a marina – one of the stipulations from the insurers the city uses is that the city must have control over the marina if the city insurance policy is to include the marina.

City Solicitor Nancy Shea Nicol

Council looked to City Solicitor Nancy Shea Nicol to determine just what ‘control over the marina’ means.

While the city knows a lot about policy and process the Parks and Recreation people realize that they don’t know all that much about the day to day problems that crop up at a marina.

The solution they appear to be edging towards is having all the marina volunteers become city volunteers who would then be given some training. Those volunteers would run the marina as city volunteers.

Will it fly? That depends on the strength of the relationship between the city and the insurance company. City is big big client – some wiggle room might be found.

Another boat is hoisted out of the yard and lowered into the water as the LaSalle Park Marina opens for another season.  Just not this year – mid June at the earliest.

The marina is a profitable operation. They have 210 slips – with 160 of them rented – they are profitable.  The longer term hope for the operation was to have 310 slips and a decent restaurant on the site.

As important to anyone is – getting the boats in the water and to do that they need to find an independent crane operator with equipment big enough to hoist those boats off their cradles and into the water.

One boat has been sold – the owner apparently can’t get his boat out of the yard it is in.

Everyone has spoken about how whatever arrangement is worked out that the city will be revenue neutral. Not a dime of public money gets put into the operation of the marina.

The LPMA turns out to have a decent reserve fund of its own. They reported that they run a profit most years – something in the order of $64,000 annually. Last year was an exception.

Given that the marina association has a reserve ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte wondered if the LPMA would have some of that reserve used to secure any expenses the city did run up?

City treasurer Joan Ford told Council that any expenses that did crop up would be recorded in a new, separate account. What kind of expense might be recorded in that account?

Council learned that the city was hiring outside legal council to advise on what the legal issues were. The cost of those lawyers would be one that the city would pay and look to the LPMA for reimbursement.

Stolte put forward an amendment to a motion that was being considered. She wanted some of that LPMA reserve money set aside as a security for those unexpected expenses.  It went nowhere – Stolte couldn’t get a seconder. When asked if he would second the motion Councillor Galbraith took a pass. Smart man – no need for him to rustle the feathers of an influential group in his ward.

The Gazette has learned that one of the two slip and fall law suits took place on the docks late at night.

We don’t yet know just who made the claim and what the particulars of the claim are.

We do know that $97,500 has been spent by the LPMA defending the claim with a settlement on either of the claims nowhere in sight.

What is that phrase ”What do you do with a drunken sailor…”

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2 comments to Marina issues: First it was insurance – now its a crane operator strike. The question some are asking – what do you do with a drunken sailor?

  • Jim Thomson

    Could the Insurance problems be related to the fact that the Marina knew the old wavebreak wasn’t fit for purpose in 2019? Excess motion of the docks could easily lead to a slip and fall.

  • Jim Thomson

    Fact Check
    The LPMA license fee is $86,700 for the period from November1, 2021 to October 31,2022.
    Payable on July 1 2022.
    The LPMA also has to pay 24% of the cost for leasing the waterlots from the Hamilton Port Authority. That’s was $14,313 in 2018 and will have increased slightly as the waterlot rental was renewed in 2020.
    BS&BC pays 56% of the waterlot rental that was $34,057 in 2018 at least that’s what’s listed as rent in there financial statement.

    The city waved the license fee in 2020 due to Covid and negotiated an extension to the licensing agreement in 2021.