After the Mirror ran the story about Town Council’s plans to turn management of the harbor over to the Cape Charles Yacht Center, we received several important comments via email and social media. Most questioned the wisdom of using the yacht center, claiming the facility was incompetent and completely mismanaged.
Below are some of the more salient comments:
“Piece by piece local Watermen are being shoved out… This will be the final nail in the coffin we are done if they take over control of the harbor… The yacht center has had management issue after management issue over the last few years didn’t, they just bring in a big firm themselves to help them figure out their own Operation? Talk to any commercial fishermen and you’ll hear a horror story about the yacht center from every single one of us… So the harbor wasn’t making enough money to upkeep the harbor but now they are going to manage to do all improvements on %20 of the income?!? I don’t see how any of it is possible… The yacht center is going to bleed that harbor dry for every penny they can and then buy it for pennies on the dollar after a few years once they prove how much of a disaster it is… They have a private Interest next door… Their slips will be filled up first… The large fuel-ups will all happen on their side… The town is going to lose so much money on that harbor if they do that slip prices are going to double and triple to try and make up for all the money lost… The only money they are saving is the employees who will be fired.”
“This is no surprise as the town has tied the harbors hands not letting them advertise whatsoever or hold any events the towns event coordinator stated that the harbor will never hold another event after the losses that they saw from Clam Slam, but I think if you look at the bigger picture the amount of traffic they came into town was pretty epic…all the small shops on Front Street definitely benefited, and it was a real morale boost and economic boost to the town. I’ve heard stated from multiple town employees that the harbor is more of a liability than an asset, but in my personal opinion I believe they set it up to fail to try to get rid of it…we’re slowly losing our culture and our heritage. This town was founded on the harbor, not on the park, and no one is coming from Pennsylvania, Virginia Beach, or any of the surrounding areas to see the park we’ve invested so much in, but they are doing that with the harbor…we see transient people from all over the country in the world that fact we need to take that into consideration.”
“CCYC can’t run what they have. CCYC often refuses some boats because they are ugly. The watermen would be run out. The cost for slips would go up. Charlie and Spencer are good men that take care of locals and the watermen. What is wrong with the town leaders? Something smells fishy like old bait. This year boating is down because of the virus. Last year boating was down because of fishing limits that made a trip too expensive just to catch two small strippers. Cape Charles Harbor is an excellent harbor with great facilities. Anytime there is a problem it is always from the town leaders making stupid decisions…….like this dumb idea!!”
So the town of Cape Charles wants to wash its hands of the Town harbor… So I want to air publicly why I think the town has lost money the last few years at the harbor and where their critical mistakes were… So the land where the Cape Charles yacht center sits was the first mistake. This all took place quite a bit ago 15-20 years ago… It used to be a commercial fishing interest with a fish house and lots of room for commercial boats to tie up as well as a place to store their gear crab pots and dredge rigs and whatnot… This land was practically given to the Cape Charles yacht center an entity that basically is their own competition… Now jump ahead quite a few years about four or five years ago when we had a change in harbormaster’s quite a few boats left the town harbor and followed him over to the Oyster farm… On top of that, you now have the yacht center with dockage for what maybe 40 or 50 boats competing with the town harbor for transients… You also have the yacht center providing massive amounts of fuel for these yachts which were one thing they originally weren’t supposed to do…everything I just listed adds up to a financial loss for the town of Cape Charles… There simply are not enough boats coming to this little town when you split it between three different harbors… Now let’s talk about the boat ramp right many years ago that was given away by the town to the state of Virginia and that is why it has been free to use all these years… Yet again more money lost by the harbor by the way that boat ramp is supposed to go back into the town’s possession this year not that the income from that will save the harbor but it will be a boost in income if they charge for the boat ramp… Now let’s talk about their new plan they want to give the rest of the harbor to the Cape Charles yacht center… I have yet to hear a good explanation why and it just makes me feel like somebody’s pockets are being lined… it makes absolutely no sense to give away a harbor the entire harbor both sides to private interests so that they can profit off of the town of Cape Charles… Their plan is to receive 20% of the income from the harbor and somehow that is going to maintain the upkeep on the harbor when now they can’t even maintain the harbor with 100% of the income and are actually losing money… This is not the way forward, and this will not end well for the town…this will not end well for the waterman in the harbor… The only people that this will end well for are the people who are profiting off of it… It’s messed up that couple of people can profit at all of our expense.
Greed and more greed…what happened to doing the right thing and helping the small guys out
Absolutely no one there is looking out for waterman I promise that. I get videod everyday because I’m “blocking the public ramp” when I offload. The state took away our bulkhead and built a new ramp for us to use years ago but didn’t deem it for commercial use.
The CC Yacht Center is crumbling. The word on the water is THEY SUCK and have NO ONE to fix boats and everyone is leaving for different marinas who can actually fix boats and charge accordingly and not falsify charges and perform in a timely manner. They are probably trying to scoop up the Harbor because they suck at what they are supposed to be doing. Then the gas situation. Heard horror stories on that one, too. CCYC Management is clueless and the Town Harbor just doesn’t care anymore.
And finally, we received this one by email. It’s totally accurate, and made me laugh aloud:
Why are you covering up the harbor story? You spent years beating the dead horse that was the annexation agreement and the Bay Creek connector road until I wanted poke my eyes out. Why are you covering up for your buddy Eyre Baldwin? If they get control of management, they will control the entire harbor? Guess you missed that part, huh? Are they paying you to keep your stupid mouth shut? Where is the concern from the Mirror? This is the worst possible thing that can happen to this town, and the elected officials are right in the middle of this. WAKE UP ASS(radio edit)!
Point well-taken. What is really going on? Certain members of Town Council have been trying to shove this idea down our throats for years. The fallacy is that the harbor, which is municipal, should somehow be turning a profit. But that’s not how muni harbors work. I have docked at muni harbors along the bay, and it seems to me Cape Charles has one of the nicest I have seen. Sure, there are issues, but from an outsider, it appears Charlie Farlow and his skeleton crew do a pretty good job.
Is turning over operations to the yacht center really a good idea? Follow the money.