Sheet Harbor Marina project begins formal business plan

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SHEET HARBOUR – An expert crew of economic planners and community developers will skipper the crucial next phase of Sheet Harbor’s long-awaited coastal marina, saying the community volunteers are in charge of the project.

“We have officially gotten underway with our enhanced business plan and feasibility study,” Marilyn Munro, president of the Sheet Harbor Marina Association (SHMA), told The Journal last week. “We have hired Group ATN Consulting (GATN) in partnership with A. Langley Developments/DBA Superyacht East Coast (SYEC), who brings a deep knowledge of marina development, operations and destination marketing to this project.”

Forecasting costs and revenues, overall market potential and long-term economic benefits for the area is a key to unlocking as much as $3.5 million in municipal, provincial and federal government funding for the project. “Everything is key,” Munro stated last month, noting that market research and public consultation will frame the process.

The need for such a facility has never been in question in Sheet Harbor.

Last year, the SHMA passed its first major milestone — after 10 years of research, development and fundraising — when it purchased the former East River Wharf for $150,000 to accommodate new slip rentals, a boat ramp, fueling station, boardwalks, boating courses, a lounges, retail and souvenir craft stores and permanent moorings for as many as 70 vessels.

At the time, Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) Councilor David Hendsbee (Preston-Chezzetcook-Eastern Shore) told The Journal, “The economic impact will be multi-fold. Having recreational vessels of every size [with] the ability to come ashore [will] certainly help to bolster employment in the community.”

The project was also expected to dovetail with other recent civic projects designed to make the community more livable and sustainable, including a new multi-million-dollar Eastern Shore Lifestyle Centre.

According to Munro last week, “Coupled with a robust skill set in the economic and business plan/case development,” GATN’s and SYEC’s “knowledge of international, national, and regional trends in marina construction and management positions [them] to fully meet, even exceed, the requirements of this [marina] projects.”

The plan is expected to be completed in August.

Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal

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