MacDonald Marine cleaning house
But owner says it has nothing to do with expiring lease
The owner of MacDonald Marine says the dozens of boats he is selling off or giving away have nothing to do with his long-term lease expiring in May.
The 40-plus-year-old boat repair business and marina has 35 power boats and sailboats listed for sale online — ranging from a 27-foot Hughes sailboat going for $5,000 to a 16-foot powerboat that is free.
“Every once in awhile I get a bunch of boats that have been abandoned,” said Sandy MacDonald, son of the late former mayor Jack MacDonald.
He said he gets rid of them to create room for boats that are paying to rent space.
“Getting rid of a bunch of boats — it’s what I do for a living.”
The spot at the little bay where the marina has operated for decades is land that is part of the city’s $143-million, long-term makeover of the west harbour.
The revitalization is meant to turn the space into a more accessible, community-oriented area that will eventually be home to thousands of new residents.
A west harbour concept map shows a relocated police marine unit in place of MacDonald Marine, along with shoreline naturalization.
But MacDonald told The Spectator: “My hope is to stay.”
Chris Phillips, who heads up waterfront development for the city, said the business’s lease ends in May 2018.
Phillips said the marine unit would include a “very small and limited” amount of boat traffic while also allowing for increased fish habitat and “complete public access” to the water’s edge.
“We continue to work with Hamilton Police Service to figure out the logistics of the transition, but that is where the master plan sits today,” he said.
Public art dedicated to the local rum-running heritage is possible as part of the plan, as well.
“The whole effort behind the city’s west harbour redevelopment is to bring people and new recreational developments as well as commercial developments to the water’s edge for the benefit of all Hamiltonians,” Phillips said.
“In this particular area, this will be a nice new critical piece of where Hamiltonians will be able to experience (the waterfront) much differently as our plan unfolds than what they have in the past.
“It will allow total access to the water’s edge where today they don’t (have that).”
Lease renegotiations have also taken place with other longtime waterfront tenants.
A memorandum of understanding is in place with the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club and the Macassa Bay Yacht Club, while other discussions are ongoing, Phillips said.
In 1996, MacDonald sued the city for $2.5 million after it tried to evict him from the land.
The lawsuit came to an end two years later when the city signed a 20-year-lease with MacDonald for the property, which is located between Bayfront Park and Pier 4 Park.
A sailboat for sale at MacDonald Marine. The 40-plus-year-old boat repair business and marina has 35 powerboats and sailboats listed for sale online.