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A Committee of Burlington City Council has directed staff to investigate the possibility of assisting the LaSalle Park Marina Association (LPMA) with its insurance problem, even if that requires the City to take over management of the Marina for the 2022 season. There are however a lot of obstacles and questions still to be resolved. The solution is by no means certain.

The Marina cannot open for the 2022 season because its liability insurance has not been renewed. Extensive research has found no alternative, leaving the City as the only option. The LPMA would like the City to assume temporary supervision of the facility so that it may fall under the City’s insurance.

There is a long list of outstanding issues and conditions that need to be investigated before anything can happen.

To start with, the staff direction makes it clear that, under no circumstances, will City money go into the effort. All expenses will have to be repaid by the LPMA.

There are also liability, legal, insurance and staffing issues that still need to be worked out.

Then, there’s the timing problem. Members of the Marina Association and its partner the Burlington Sailing and Boating Club told the Committee on Thursday that the annual lift-in of boats has already been delayed from May 5 to May 19. After that, if there’s no solution, there could be problems.

Scott Lowell, Commodore of the Burlington Sailing and Boating Club told the meeting that without an operational marina 72 boats remain in storage waiting to be launched. Owners are becoming impatient and may try to retrieve their boats on their own.

“This is where things really start to get chaotic and dangerous….. There’s going to be damage. It’s just not a good picture”.

Staff pointed out that crafting a solution by the May 19 goal is probably impossible and instead suggested an interim report to the May 17 Council meeting followed by a final recommendation in early June.

Local Councillor Kelvin Galbrath put forward the staff direction admitting that the problem is not an easy one.

“It’s come about suddenly …. We have a marina that the City is heavily invested in already. We own the docks. We own the wave-break…..Everything is operating well. We just need to get over this hurdle and get the boats in the water”.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said she was happy with the effort everyone is putting into finding a solution.

“We need to keep the boating community here in Burlington and we don’t want to lose another season. Covid has taken two years already”.

The City received 23 pieces of correspondence in support of the LPMA.

By Rick Craven

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