After the city council refused to change the makeup of the Marina Advisory board at the insistence of the Chair of the Marina Advisory Board Christon Skinner the Mayor removed Christon Skinner from the board.

The Mayor wanted to expand the board by 2 members and allow 2 non marina user onto the board and to include a live aboard from the marina on the committee. This was fought by the chair who wanted to keep the status quo on the board.

This is a good move for Oak Harbor, the marina belongs to all of the citizens of Oak Harbor not just the users of the marina. By having a couple of members on the board that are not marina users is an attempt to get the marina more integrated with the citizens and working with the city and it’s residents and to encourage activities that help Oak Harbor and not just the Marina and it’s users.

The Oak Harbor marina has relied on Race Week as it sole contribution to the city and we need to have a marina that works with and for the city and not only for the benefit of boaters in our community. We can look no further than Anacortes and La Conner to see how their marina has benefitted those cities greatly with increased tourism and income for the city. Currently boaters largely avoid the Oak Harbor marina and pass right down Saratoga Passage to La Conner and Anacortes so we get very little increase in tourism from the boating world to our city except for race week.

Christon Skinner commented in the Whidbey News Times “Our concern is, if we add two more members for no compelling reason, it’s just going to take us longer to do what we already think we’re doing very efficiently,”

The “compelling reason” is to have non marina users have an input in the Marina to benefit our city, after all the Marina belongs to all residents of the city and not just a select few.

I did talk to Mayor Dudley this AM and his simple explanation was “I thought it would be wise to get two new sets of eyes and two new perspectives, whether that be non-marina individuals or someone representing live-a-boards.” Obviously that concept did not fly with those in our city that are not looking for different perspectives to improve what we have.