The Port Commission has voted 3-0 in support of a Water Reliant Commercial Marine Rental Policy to provide a consistent and predictable rent structure for working waterfront employers. The policy was developed in coordination with the Working Waterfront Coalition of Whatcom County to strengthen the harbor core of the County’s maritime sector and protect commercial marine businesses where they rely upon access to marine water.
“We hope this policy sends a clear message to marine trade industries throughout the Puget Sound that we want them on our waterfront and we place a high value the good-paying jobs they create” said Port Real Estate Director Shirley McFearin.
In Whatcom County, 6,033 jobs are created or supported by marine trades, representing 7% of the total workforce. Statewide, the maritime sector produces 148,800 jobs and $30 billion in fiscal impact.
The Port’s Water Reliant Commercial Marine Rental Policy offers qualifying businesses a ten percent discount off Rental Revenue Standard Rates. Importantly, it also sets working waterfront land values based on appraisals for water-reliant marine uses rather than commercial uses. The Port’s policy will be implemented as new leases are issued or when existing leases are renewed.
”This policy will pay dividends to shareholders of the Port and that includes every citizen of Whatcom County” said Jim Kyle, Vice President of the Working Waterfront Coalition. “Whatcom County’s vibrant maritime sector supports 6,000 mostly living-wage jobs. These jobs exist because we have harbors full of boats attracted by excellent facilities and close by chandleries, marine trades, and trades people.”
“This policy will strengthen the core of Whatcom County’s maritime sector by providing certainty to working waterfront employers to make the long-term investments necessary to expand their businesses” said McFearin.