Solution: Why reinvent the wheel?
Jim Wright, a member of Hayle Harbour Support Group, explains why the group believes the harbour should be council-run.
READERS will know that a community trust is planned for Hayle Harbour and an options paper outlining possible models has been prepared by Cornwall Council.
After careful consideration of all options, which included considerable research and consultation, it is our considered view that the best option for the ownership and operation of Hayle harbour is for it to be taken over by Cornwall Council as a municipal port.
Cornwall Council should take ownership of the harbour and set up a municipal harbour board to run the harbour.
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The board would consist of up to 12 members, all with relevant qualifications and experience. Half the board, including the harbour master, would be appointed by the council, the other half by open advertisement and independent recruitment. Thus the council, as owner, would retain overall control of the port, adopt the recommendations of Modern Trust Ports concerning accountability, governance and finance, while allowing the port to be more independent as a non-executive function of the council.
Hayle harbour is in a unique position in that its regeneration is central to the future prospects of the whole town, and will open up further opportunities within the wider harbour landscape.
It is essential that close links are established between all elements of regeneration of the harbour, and council ownership of the port will provide the best opportunity for achieving this.
Large amounts of public money have been invested in the harbour infrastructure, so it makes sense that Cornwall Council should safeguard its investment and be involved in any outcomes.
Under council ownership the port will benefit from the existing Cornwall Council Harbour Board which already governs other Cornish harbours. A single maritime service is being established by the council and its experience will bring a wealth of existing skills, knowledge and experience to the running of the harbour.
It is also the best bet for ensuring the harbour's future financial security.
Very importantly, this is the most democratic way of ensuring wide accountability to the population. The linkage of a municipal port to a port board is an effective way of ensuring that Hayle people are closely involved in the future development of the harbour.
The setting-up of other ownership models seems unnecessary when a tried and tested solution is readily available. We should not be tempted to reinvent the wheel for the sake of it, especially in these difficult economic times.