The Nanaimo Port Authority controls much of the city’s waterfront and the economic activities that happen there but now an organization representing a number of marinas says the Port Authority isn’t doing its job.

“Essentially there’s a one size fits all approach to managing a harbour,” said Odai Sirri of the Nanaimo Marina Association.

The problem is that doesn’t work in smaller communities like Nanaimo. We’re competing against Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and then Nanaimo is also a port city? It doesn’t really make sense.”

The Nanaimo Marina Association has sent a 25-page report to Transport Canada demanding change and the biggest change they are recommending is how Canada governs Nanaimo’s port.

It says the authority’s financial performance highlights its failings.

“You look at the revenues coming in and you see how much they’re losing on an annual basis and that’s where it just hampers them and ultimately the community loses and that’s the problem,” said Sirri.

But in a statement Tuesday, the Port Authority is defending itself saying there are “a number of blatant misrepresentations…” in the Marina Association report and that the report “…does unnecessary harm to the community…”

Nanaimo’s mayor says he understands the marina operators concerns but thinks the Port Authority is heading in the right direction.

“I think they have the best interests of the community at heart. I’ve worked with many of them in other organizations and I’m satisfied we have a high-quality group,” said Leonard Krog.

“Is the governance structure inhibiting their ability to perform appropriately I don’t know. I’m going to leave that question to the minister who has far more knowledge about this than I do.”

The marina association has suggested several new potential governance models for the Nanaimo Harbour Authority. One is a non-profit operating model like the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority.

Kendall Hanson