Mid and East Antrim marinas berthing discount agreed
Berth-holders at Mid and East Antrim marinas are to receive a 15 per cent lockdown discount, it has been agreed.
The borough council’s Direct Services Committee which met remotely on Monday evening made the decision after failing to agree on a discount last month.
Berthing fees at marinas in Mid and East Antrim bring in almost £0.5m for the borough council annually.
The local authority operates marina and harbour facilities in Carrickfergus, Whitehead, Glenarm, Carnlough and Portglenone.
A discount of 15 per cent in fees had already been recommended by a council officer last month for lockdown between January and March despite a 30 per cent discount during the first lockdown last year.
However, during the most recent Covid restrictions, berth-holders have been able to access their boats.
Operations Director Philip Thompson has explained that boats are being “stored”, security is operational and maintenance work has been taking place.
He pointed out that the proposed reduction was “more than a private operator” is offering.
Carrickfergus DUP Councillor Cheryl Johnston said: “This has been a difficult time. It is only right and fair to give them some sort of financial saving.”
Seconding the proposal, Braid Councillor Beth Adger added: “I hope boat owners may be able to take to the lough and sea before very long.”
However, Coast Road councillor Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna asked if it would be possible to consider 20 per cent adding that she would propose that.
Seconding, party colleague Councillor Danny Donnelly noted that when Mid and East Antrim offered a reduction of 30 per cent during the first lockdown, Bangor Marina’s was 50 per cent.
Mr Thompson said he believed that 15 per cent was “reasonable”.
The Alliance proposal fell by 13 votes against, three in favour and one abstention.
The proposed 15 per cent discount was subsequently agreed unanimously.
Previously, Carrickfergus Ulster Unionist Councillor Robin Stewart who abstained asked why people would be charged fees of 85 per cent “to go down to see their boat once a week”.
Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter
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