An EC$250 million marina, hailed as the best in the eastern and southern Caribbean was officially opened in Canouan on Monday.
“When full, Glossy Bay Marina will act as a host to nearly a thousand yachtspeople, professional crew, charter guests and owners. That is the equivalent of a 500-room hotel, bigger than anything else in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Let us plan to work together to make this project a success for both its investors and the nation,” Bob Hathaway, manager of the marina said at the opening ceremony.
The marina contains 120 berths, including 24 “super yacht” berths capable of accommodating yachts between 100 and 300 feet in length. Depth available exceeds 18 feet.
Of the remaining berths, 82 are suitable for smaller yachts in the range 33 to 80 feet and 13 are allocated for the owners of villas to be constructed at a later phase of the development.
Glossy Bay Marina is the first super yacht marina in the Grenadines and developers say it will enable these large yachts to base themselves in Canouan while undertaking charter activities or owners’ trips in the archipelago.
Investors say that that ability alone should enable a significant development in yachting activities in the Grenadines as high-end facilities are developed in the marina to provide technical support to these large yachts and enable training of the Vincentian community in yacht support trades, including varnishing, valeting, paint, and woodwork repairs.
They further say that opportunities will increase for the supply of local fresh fish and vegetables on a far greater scale than is currently the case as well as more technical support services required by these yachts.
“Yachting, of all the tourism sectors is, by far, the largest contributor per head to the local economy,” said Hathaway, who has 28 years experience in the marine industry and was manager of St. Lucia’s Marigot Bay Marina.
“Glossy Bay Marina is a major addition to yachting in the Windward Islands, the Grenadines, and, of course, to Canouan,” he said, adding that the opening of the marina and the associated bars, restaurants and other facilities will make the southern Grenadine island the yachting centre of the Grenadines.
He said the opportunity to train Vincentians, in particular Canouan islanders, in developing all the skills in the yachting industry is not to be missed and has already started.
The three original dockhands are already trained to international standards in that regard and have also received first aid training, and are currently undergoing fire-fighting training, Hathaway said.
“Similar opportunities will exist for more direct and subcontract employees in the future in the whole range of yacht support activities…” he said.
In her address, Elena Korach, chief executive officer of Glossy Bay Marina Ltd., noted the scale of the financial investment in the marina.
She said that EC$250 million has been disbursed so far and over EC$100 million will be spent to complete the marina plaza.
The infrastructural network at the marina includes a prime and standby power plant, a waste water treatment plant connected to vacuum pumping facilities on the docks, a fuelling system for boats with dockside fuelling hydrants and a fuelling station.
“Glossy Bay sets a whole new standard in terms of quayside finishing and lighting design, specked to the highest standards,” Korach said.
“The Marina Capitanerie, with guest bathrooms and laundry facilities, and Shenanigans, a trendy beach club with a lovely garden surrounded by pergolas, and a pool with breath-taking views over the Grenadines complete the offer to the public guests,” she said.
Korach said that over the two years of the project’s construction, it employed hundreds of workers with peaks of 700 tradesmen on side, 95 per cent of whom were Vincentians.
“The contribution to the Canouan economy has been also significant,” she said, adding that rentals alone amounted to a monthly bill of EC$130,000.
Irish financier, Dermot Desmond, is one of the major investors in the project.
The government says he has already invested US$60 million and will spend another US$25-30 this year and a similar amount over the next three to four years.
Italian investor, Antonio Saladino invested US$25 million in the project.
“I think our ambition and our plan is to create a marina set in botanical gardens and having a building here that will be one of the outstanding features in the Grenadines, that will be welcoming, architecturally brilliant and also will be a place the folks must come and visit on this beautiful island,” Desmond told the opening ceremony.
“It is fortunate that Andrea Pignatario, who is the main shareholder in the north of the island here, we share the same vision. We share a belief that this is actually a fantastic island. We share that we have an environmental responsibility to St. Vincent and the people of Canouan to enhance and develop this island and to make it one of the most wonderful vacation spots in the whole world. Employing Vincentians, training Vincentians, and Vincentians leading the hospitality service that we will offer here,” Desmond said.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves welcomed the marina, telling the opening ceremony that it will create many opportunities for Vincentians.
“When the marina is finished, there are going to be opportunities here galore, there are already opportunities for Vincentian entrepreneurs. And, they will work in conjunction with the management and leadership of this facility, this extraordinary facility, and I hope that some of those who would sell goods here to you, Dermot, and to the yachts, that some of them would really become rich.
“Not as rich as you but be able to [earn] some money, which is part of developing an entrepreneurial class in our country. It’s very important,” Gonsalves quipped.