“Opportunities” for future of harbour set to be discussed

The Rendezvous bar in Weymouth with boats and people outside on a warm summer day

Weymouth Harbour’s management and future ownership are to be discussed with the town chiefs keen to establish a long-term plan for it. Keith Howarth, the harbour master, will give an update on the finance and business of the harbour to the management board tomorrow, June 28.

The report will briefly show the major impact that the loss of Condor operations had on the budget. From an overall income of £1.8m, the harbour’s budget has been reduced by around £600,000 to £750,000. The report will also point out that no other operators were looking to run a cross-channel ferry service. It will also include details on the intended development of part of the ferry terminal which is part of ongoing plans to resuscitate the Pavilion peninsula.

The report will also have several recommendations, particularly on the long-term strategy needs that are supposed to be developed. The report states that it’s now important to take into consideration the future ownership of the harbour and to also assess whether there are other opportunities.

The spokesperson for tourism, culture and harbour for the Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, Richard Kosior, stated that from his point of view, ‘alternative opportunities’ was referring to labour management. Should the reorganisation proceed as planned, a wider unitary authority will take over the role of the borough council. Kosior, who is still new to the role, has stated that he intends to ask more questions on what opportunities the report is talking about. He also added that he was happy with all the progress that had been made since Condor left. He mentioned that people were looking optimistic but he also stressed that it was important not to be lulled into a false sense of security. In his own words, he was keen to see the optimism being backed by numbers.

The harbour’s income in 16/17 stood at £1.187m and 63% of this came from leisure activities. These activities included the use of the slipway, yachts visiting the area and marina berths. 18% of the revenue came from licenses and rent while commercial activities contributed 14.5%. The harbour also got a good share of the £100,000 that was paid to the council partnership when the movie Dunkirk was filmed in the area. The expenditure for the same period stands at £1.518m and according to the report, there hasn’t been a financial issue for more than five years.

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