There will be no judicial review of the St. John’s Port Authority’s (SJPA) decision to not let the Scademia operate out of St. John’s harbour.
Adventure Tours Inc. and the Scademia belong to Charlie Anonsen. Anonsen and the port authority have had a number of clashes over the years that have made it into the media. The Scademia used to operate out of St. John’s harbour.
According to court documents, in 2006 the SJPA made a tour boat policy that required all tour boat operators on their property to be based at Pier 7 and restricted the number of tour boats to three kiosk tenants. Adventure Tours Inc. was not one of those three.
On March 4, 2013, Adventure Tours Inc. wrote the port authority saying it wished to resume tour boat operations out of St. John’s harbour. On March 15, the port authority declined the request. Adventure Tours Inc. requested a judicial review of that decision.
Court documents show that the port authority said they’re dealing with increasing demand for berthing real estate and had adopted a policy of limiting the number of licensed tour boat operations in port. Two such operators already offer tours out of St. John’s. The port authority did say that any boat tour operator could potentially berth at any property not managed by them, though the court documents suggest this is misleading as the port authority has the monopoly on the berthing areas there.
The court essentially looked at whether the SJPA has the legal right to license commercial tour boat operators and limit the number of such licensed operators on their property. Adventure Tours Inc. argued that it doesn’t and, by doing so, the port authority was infringing on its common law public right of navigation.
The court concluded that the SJPA does have the right to license tour boat operators. If it didn’t manage such matters on its port property, court documents say it would essentially have no control over the activities taking place there.
The court documents also say that in an affidavit filed by Anonsen in support of his request for a judicial review, he says that he believes the decision made by the SJPA was “malicious and intended to specifically target and detrimentally affect ATI”. But the court noted that there was no basis given for the belief, nor any evidence.
The application for a judicial review was denied and the court said the SJPA should also have its legal costs covered.