LEASING out a council-owned marina to a private company will be one of the options debated by councillors in a bid to revive its fortunes over the coming years.

Dwyfor District Council developed Hafan Pwllheli marina during the early 90’s thanks to  European funding, before local government reorganisation saw it transferred to the new Gwynedd Council in 1996.

But concerns over the dwindling number of berth holders over recent years has resulted in council officers drawing up a number of options for its future operation including selling, leasing or running the facility by an arm’s length company.

The marina offers over 400 pontoon moorings, offices, changing rooms, showers, toilets, safe boat storage area, a 50 tonne crane, boat transport and parking provision.

There are further fears that most facilities at Pwllheli, including moorings, are over 20 years old and despite currently being in working order, will reach the end of their life in the next few years.

Figures released in March found that 21 of the 81 available berths at the Outer Harbour and 103 of the 409 berths at its twin, Hafan Pwllheli, had not been taken up for 2018.

With a berth costing vessel owners £380 a year per metre, every empty space represents a loss of income for Gwynedd Council.

On Thursday, members of the Education and Economy Scrutiny Committee will be asked to allow detailed options to be put forward in a bid to stop the downward trend seen over recent years.

While the twin marinas once brought in a profit of £800,000 a year at their peak, the downturn has seen this figure slashed in half.

The report prepared by Gwynedd Council officers, states: “It is recommended there is a case for change but that does not necessarily mean that new providers are needed to manage the Hafan.

“The alternative model could, as a minimum, mean introducing improvements and/or an investment to the service and, at the other end of the scale, could mean selling the site to an independent provider.”

However, one potential stumbling block to any potential sale would be the responsibilities of managing the harbour and carrying out all the dredging responsibilities.

Dredging the channel, according to the report, is a specific issue in the area due to a lack of capacity to dispose of the sediment despite ongoing concerns that silting levels in the channel are already affecting access to the harbour.

As well as leasing out the facility, other options set to be considered include improvements to the facilities paid for by the authority, establishing an at arm’s length company and a joint venture with a private company.

The report concludes: “There is evidence pertaining to the need to take steps to prevent further decline in the income and use of Pwllheli Hafan and the harbour.

“Necessary investment in Hafan means that the financial gains to the Council are likely to fall over the coming years in all scenarios. Any further work would consider those requirements in more detail and would assess a shortlist of options as grounds for the Council’s decision.”

Gwynedd Council’s Education and Economy Scrutiny Committee will meet in Caernarfon on Thursday.