Work has started on the multimillion dollar upgrading and expansion project at the Rodney Bay Marina and the developers say the first set of new docks will be ready for this year’s Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) in December.
Two dredging machines and a number of barges are among numerous pieces of heavy equipment currently engaged in dredging and demolition of the old docks at the marina. Another dredge was scheduled to arrive at the site in March, when regulations restricting boats from entering the marina began to be enforced.
The project is being undertaken by Island Global Yachting (IGY) which purchased the marina at the beginning of 2007 and is upgrading the facility to bring it on par with others operated by the company in the Caribbean and elsewhere.
Said Rodney Bay General Manager Cuthbert Didier, “There will be times set when boats can enter or leave the marina, for safety reasons. In the marina basin itself we will restrict the allowance of boats to be anchored or moored there because this area will be off limits as part of the safety measures required for the operation to continue.” Didier said there would be no restrictions on residents who would be free to move in and out while the channel is open.
“During the time when the channel will be dredged there will be alerts put out to people that there are restrictions. But there will always be a channel open to allow residents and people with boats to move about their business. Those restrictions would continue through to August 2009.”
According to Didier, the dredging will be to depths of between eight and 15 feet so that the marina can accommodate boats of different sizes. He said one dock will be specifically for mega yachts, which can be as much as 240 feet long with exceptional draft, therefore needing additional depth to get through. Dredging is being undertaken by a local company contracted to C.O. Williams (St. Lucia) Limited which is the general contractor for the project.
Didier praised the part being played by the Port Police and the St. Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) in patrolling and making sure that people do not anchor in the marina while the works are proceeding. “Their participation has been most welcome by IGY and The Rodney Bay company,” he said.
Martin Lucas, IGY’s Vice President Customer Service said that side by side with the construction works will be attempts to improve the water quality in the marina. “Our engineers, our due diligence people, and our marine environmentalists will come in and study this piece of water and then give us the best layout that that body of water will take.”
Lucas emphasized that the Marina would be staying in business while the work progressed. “Because we have the challenge of being ready for ARC this year we’re not putting people out of the marina who need slips. We have looked at our traditional occupancy rates and we determined that usually around February we are at 80 percent occupancy. That means that we can start by taking out take 20 percent of our slips and prepare for the new mega yacht dock. So our Development arm will work with our Operations Division and as our monthly averages allow them to take out more docks, they will do so. That way we will keep our customers happy and not put anybody out.”
Lucas said the construction of the new docks should be completed by December this year, in time for ARC.
Report submitted by Ernie Seon