Ports of Jersey chief executive Matt Thomas revealed earlier this week that ‘exciting’ plans to transform St Helier’s marinas and harbours, and the land around them, were at a ‘very advanced stage’. He also said that work to upgrade St Helier Marina, replacing old and ‘unfit-for-purpose’ pontoons and piles, that had been derailed by the pandemic should start soon. He added that he hoped the work, which is part of a wider masterplan, would be complete before the summer of 2021.
Mr Thomas explained that the masterplan would address several needs, including the demand for additional berths for the growing marine leisure industry.
St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft welcomed the announcement, saying: ‘It’s a testament to the resilience of Jersey’s economy that these plans are being progressed.’
He added that he would remain involved in the conversations surrounding the development and highlighted some of the areas that he felt should be addressed, including the price of mooring fees and parking at the Albert Pier.
‘Commuter parking at the Albert Pier should be made accessible for shoppers to support the marina and town,’ he said.
The initial plans have also been welcomed by members of the marine leisure industry after they saw a boost in sales during the Covid-19 pandemic. This strengthened the call from local boat distributors for Ports of Jersey to expedite the process of revamping the town marina to provide more berths.
Miles Strong of Quay Boats reiterated that the need for more space was ever-present, but that he was happy to see the plans advancing.
‘The demand is definitely still there,’ he said. ‘We are working with Ports of Jersey to help push these projects through. All of the industry is working together to advise and support Ports of Jersey on collectively making the right decisions going forward.
‘We’re all on the same team,’ he added. ‘The announcement shows that they are listening to our concerns.’
Dominic Bosley, of Sunseeker Channel Islands, said it was ‘important’ that the plans went through to facilitate the constant growth of the marine leisure industry.
‘We’ve all had a busy year,’ he said. ‘I hope that they get on with it rather than keep talking about it. We are working with Ports of Jersey as the industry will keep growing so we need to see these plans go through.’