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‘I’m disgusted’: P.E.I. tour boat operator hit with huge fee increase


SaltWire In the present day – Tuesday, July 11, 2023 | SaltWire

Watch on YouTube: “SaltWire Today – Tuesday, July 11, 2023 | SaltWire”

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — A tour boat operator in Souris is livid the harbour authority is growing his berthing charges by 750 per cent.

“I’m disgusted, it’s ridiculous, it’s unexplainable,” JJ Chaisson informed SaltWire in a telephone interview on July 11. “I can’t get my head round this enhance in any respect.’’

In early March, he acquired a letter that was issued after the Souris Harbour Authority Inc. board met in February informing him operations on the wharf have been shedding cash. It additionally indicated that charges have been growing for sailboats, fishers, industrial tour operators and barges utilized by native building corporations.

Chaisson, who additionally fishes lobster out of North Lake, stated discussions started forwards and backwards between numerous operators and the authority. Chaisson stated he acquired a letter on July 10 confirming the brand new charges, and that efficient April 1, 2023, the berthing price he’ll must pay for his boat – Chaisson a Dream – was growing from $400 per thirty days to $3,000 per thirty days. This may value him $9,000 for the season to function his household’s tour enterprise, The Fiddling Fisherman, from that location.

“I’m not disputing that charges have been going up, however for the speed to go from $400 a month to $3,000 a month is nothing in need of gouging a small enterprise.” – JJ Chaison, tour boat operator

A part of Chaisson’s beef is that the common enhance for different vessels to dock within the Souris Harbour is 30 per cent.

“It’s ridiculous that that is being placed on me,” Chaisson stated. “I’m not disputing that charges have been going up, however for the speed to go from $400 a month to $3,000 a month is nothing in need of gouging a small enterprise. That is going to make me do some actual eager about (the place I’ll berth) subsequent yr.”

Souris Harbour Authority

Andrew Daggett, the final supervisor of the authority, stated the board is nicely conscious Chaisson is being hit with a a lot increased enhance than most.

“We’re not a tourism operation, as a lot as folks would possibly see it that manner,” Daggett stated. “The harbour authority is right here for the Port of Souris, for the fishermen of Souris. Tourism is a fringe factor to our mandate.”

The Souris Harbour Authority repurposed a former seafood plant, now hosting a world-leading aquaculture and research company, 12-million-pound cold storage warehouses and an organic french fry processor at the Souris Food Park in this file photo. Finance P.E.I. - Screenshot
The Souris Harbour Authority repurposed a former seafood plant, now internet hosting a world-leading aquaculture and analysis firm, 12-million-pound chilly storage warehouses and an natural french fry processor on the Souris Meals Park on this file picture. Finance P.E.I. – Screenshot

Daggett stated there has at all times been a price on the wharf, however it’s one which was not frequently enforced. When the board did an financial evaluation just lately, it confirmed that the marina was shedding cash. That, in itself, isn’t any shock, stated Daggett, including marinas typically don’t make cash.

In Souris’ case, it has been shedding tens of hundreds of {dollars} within the wake of injury inflicted by post-tropical storm Fiona.

“It’s actually onerous to make a (enterprise) case that we bothered to place a marina again in when it’s $600,000 to $900,000 to interchange it and it was already shedding cash,” Daggett stated, including that the authority additionally changed the water and sewer traces to the marina buildings two years in the past at a value of $50,000.

“That was for a constructing that’s used two months of the yr, that we lose cash on.”

The overall supervisor additionally famous that Souris is one in every of 4 impartial wharves in P.E.I. The authority is a not-for-profit community-based group.

Chaisson stated he has raised costs on his tour boat, however the enhance is lower than 10 per cent.

“I’m only a native enterprise man that pulls folks to the port,” Chaisson stated. “What a slap within the face for a household that purchased the previous Platter Home in Souris West and turned it into an occasions centre. That is the sort of backlash you get out of your neighbours on these boards voting in favour of a rise.”

Regardless of his harsh phrases, he stated his intention isn’t to humiliate the board.

“I don’t need anyone to hate anyone on the board,” Chaisson added. “I would like them to confess what they did was improper as a result of it’s improper.”

Dave Stewart is a well being reporter with SaltWire in Prince Edward Island. He could be reached by e mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @DveStewart.

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