Press-Republican

September 1, 2013

City to continue negotiating with Navtours

Hoping to find workable plan for waterfront park

By JOE LoTEMPLIO Press-Republican
Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — City of Plattsburgh councilors will continue to negotiate with Navtours to develop a waterfront project, but the plans may be changed.

“Maybe we could do a hybrid plan that could work,” Councilor Mark Tiffer (D-Ward 2) said at the recent Plattsburgh Common Council meeting.

The council voted in late June to negotiate with Navtours after that company and Plattsburgh Boat Basin both submitted proposals to the city’s Lake City Local Development Corp., which recommended Navtours.

NAVTOURS PROPOSAL

Navtours, based in Quebec and the Bahamas, has been offering boat tours on Lake Champlain for the past 15 years. Its proposal for a waterfront plan offered boating, recreation and food services at the city’s property on Dock Street Landing.

Under the plan, Navtours would pay the city annual rent of $12,000, plus 10 percent of marina revenues, which the company estimates to be about $10,700 per year, for a total annual payment to the city of $22,700.

MANAGEMENT BY CITY

But recently, City Public Works Department employee John Ducatte, who has extensive marina knowledge, presented councilors with a plan that he said could generate as much as $3.2 million over a 10-year period.

Ducatte’s plan would have the city operate waterfront marina space, by using 80 moorings at Dock Street Landing and Wilcox Dock and renting space at the existing docks.

Those docks are busy each summer for the numerous fishing tournaments that draw anglers and their families ot the area.

HONOR RESOLUTION

Councilor Chris Jackson (D-Ward 6) said that while Ducatte’s plan for city management of the dock area is interesting, the council needs to continue working with Navtours.

“We need to honor that resolution we passed in June,” he said.

Jackson said the city needs to develop a comprehensive master plan for the waterfront and that Navtours’ plans could be incorporated into it.

“We can consider this phase one,” he said.

Tiffer said he was confident that Navtours could offer a workable plan but said that company officials need reassurance that the council will continue to work with them.

He agreed with Jackson’s assertion that the city needs a comprehensive plan for the waterfront and rest of the city.

“A lot of processes need to be finalized in order to even begin to plan for the waterfront,” he said.

Tiffer also said that some of Ducatte’s ideas might be able to be incorporated with Navtours’ plans.

“Navtours’ plan focused more on the docks and ours more on the moorings,” he said.

EYES WIDE OPEN

Councilor James Calnon (I-Ward 4) said that reviewing Ducatte’s plan gives the city a better understanding of the potential of the waterfront.

“If nothing else, it will make us better negotiators,” Calnon said.

“We will go into these negotiations with our eyes wide open.”

Email Joe LoTemplio:jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com