Canada’s newest marina, Milltown Marina, sits on the outskirts of downtown Vancouver, B.C. in a well-protected basin on the North Arm of the Frasier River.
The marina’s story is not that different from other Greenfield projects, and it’s actually the commonalities that it shares with other projects that makes it an interesting case study. Milltown started out the way many new marina projects do with a vision for the site, then a concept design and finally a layout for the docks followed by an issuance of a Request for Proposal (RFP).
Like a growing number of Greenfield marina projects, the response to the RFP is where the Milltown project deviated from its original course. The original plan was to get bids from dock builders to supply the docks that when assembled in the water by a general contractor would make up the configuration shown in the original drawing. The anchoring system would be supplied and installed by a third party and the utilities and accessory packages would be handled separately. This approach was designed to cut out any middlemen and avoid extra markups. In theory, the concept makes sense. The problem is that the modern marina is a complex web of interconnected systems that is most often best approached as a single system by a marina builder who specializes in the design/build of marina systems and who can take advantage of economies of scale. This is where the real savings happens.