Andy Le Seelleur, a former Royal Navy engineer, made the comments after it was announced that the youth organisation was to move out of its dilapidated Fort Regent headquarters and into the former Rouge Bouillon police station by January 2021 until a permanent home can be found.
He was previously involved in the Les Galots scheme to build a base for the unit at the bottom of Mount Bingham between South Pier and Victoria Pier.
The project was dropped five years ago following strong opposition, which included a record 1,325 comments being lodged on the planning application. But the mental-health campaigner says work to find a solution must now restart.
‘I am pleased that they have finally found somewhere temporary to move into. Back when I was a cadet, the Fort Regent building was almost uninhabitable with flooding, mould and damp and that was back in the old days of health and safety, let alone now,’ he said.
‘What we tried to do with Les Galots in 2013 or 2014 was treated with such contempt. We were not given a chance to explain ourselves and the project, which I think would have provided a wider community and maritime benefit.’
Mr Le Seelleur added that the construction of a maritime centre – similar to the rejected Les Galots scheme – would also act as a mechanism to get Islanders into and onto the water.
‘As an island, there is no gateway in terms of getting people on the water. There are the yacht clubs, who do a fantastic job, or you can be a member of the rowing club but there is still a huge gap,’ he said.
‘What we need is not a dedicated Sea Cadet facility, as they only meet for around two or three hours a week, but a centre to accommodate the wider maritime environment.
‘No one should be denied access to the water. These days there is a lot more
access to the water, with charities such as Beachability supporting those
with disabilities, and there are hundreds of people buying stand-up paddleboards and kayaks but there is no dedicated centre. That is what we had with Les Galots but it was not meant to be.’
Mr Le Seelleur added that the sea cadets would not be able to use the Rouge Bouillon building forever and that he wanted to see construction on a new base begin within two years.
‘It is horrible to see people trying to make the unit thrive in the face of huge adversity. Someone needs to do something,’ he said.