DUNEDIN – The Waterfront Task Force presented its report to the Dunedin City Commission on Feb. 20 and numerous suggestions for improvements of the Dunedin Marina.
The main suggestions were to construct a breakwater, replenish sand and eliminate riprap, expand the fishing and viewing pier, accommodate a water taxi, add day slips, and expand the dinghy dock to encourage visitors.
The marina consists of Edgewater Park, a single boat launch, wet slips for 180 boats, the Dock Master, restaurant and fish market, Peninsula Sunset Park, Marina Beach, the Boat Club building, and pram shed. Furthermore, there are numerous programs that use the area, including the Dunedin Boat Club, Windlasses, Sail ability, Dunedin Youth Sailing Association, Sea Scouts, and the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
There are numerous problems with the current state of the marina, but the biggest issues are that the area is quite crowded and there are serious parking issues, the task force concluded. Since there is only one boat launch, there is often a long line of trailers waiting so people can launch their boats one at a time, according to the task force.
Additionally, the riprap consists of large chunks of concrete, and it proves dangerous as people are often getting hurt on it. Therefore, the task force recommended to get rid of it. The pram shed is also extremely packed, and nothing else can fit in it, though there is still plenty of need for more space. That is why the task force recommended to expand it.
There have been numerous studies and reports completed regarding marina studies, going back to 1980 when it was reported that urgent repairs were needed, and in 1982 when ways to add slips to the marina were suggested. However, nothing has ever come out of any of these reports. Commissioner Julie Ward Bujalski said this is completely unacceptable, and it is important that the commission does not allow the same thing to happen with this report.
“What’s really telling, especially for the marina, out of all of the things that you all looked at, is how many reports have been done with recommendations that have never been acted on,” Bujalski said. “That is completely disappointing to me. It’s been decades now, and how much money has been spent? I don’t want that to be the case with this, at all.”
She added that she thought there were a number of things in the report that the city could begin to jump on immediately.
Commissioner Heather Gracy agreed, saying the city should start with the “low-hanging fruit” and then look more into how to accomplish some of the larger goals.
Mayor Dave Eggers said he echoed the other commissioners’ views and added that he agrees that the marina is vulnerable in a storm. It would be a good idea to plan for the worst-case scenario, he said, so a plan would be in place in case a hurricane hit the city.
Other things the task force recommended are the following:
• Expanded pier viewing area
• Increase bicycle parking
• Notify the public of Marina Beach access with limited parking
• Design a new sailing center and to look to the Clearwater Sailing Center for inspiration
• Do a master plan for the marina
• Evaluate the mooring field legislation
• Have designs available in case of a hurricane wiping out the current marina.