The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority says 2019 included a successful cruise ship season. (Don Denton/News Staff)

Victoria council chambers packed for ongoing environmental cruise ship discussions

Union workers, neighbourhood associations and more gathered for environmental conversations

Council chambers were full Thursday morning as workers from the cruise line industry gathered in support of ongoing discussions. Members from some local unions, including the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, were present while the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA), the James Bay Neighbourhood Association (JBNA) and council workshopped ideas.

The discussion comes after Victoria put forward limiting requests on the cruise industry in October after it found it to be too environmentally damaging.

READ MORE: Victoria councillors aim to halt harbour authority cruise ship expansion plans

Discussions began with JBNA president Marg Gardiner, who also leads an emissions file on the industry.

“This year the increase in passenger counts increased by 21 per cent,” she said. “In the last 15 years it’s been up 150 per cent.”

In 2020 the GVHA expects its highest cruise call count to date, with 284 ships.

With this increase comes the potential of more greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), the JBNA said, noting that while the City aims to reduce GHG by six per cent per year, cruise ships are slated to increase by seven per cent per year. The JBNA also argued that more ships meant more potential for environmental violations, citing that 10 ships which accounted for more than 40 per cent of visits in Victoria received air and water violations from the State of Alaska, where emissions are monitored.

“James Bay residents welcome tourists, we share our community,” Gardiner said. “But to gain social license the cruise industry needs to change, it needs to respect the community it visits and become good corporate citizens in the city.”

ALSO READ: More cruise ships, passengers anticipated in Victoria in 2020

The GVHA followed by saying that efforts were continuing to be made to pare down GHG emissions and be more environmentally friendly. Steps include the recent hiring of an engineering consultant to investigate what would be required to install on-shore power adapters to run the ships while moored.

“Forty-five per cent of ship calls in 2018 were shore power capable, which is very promising,” said GVHA CEO Ian Robertson.

The report is due in the spring or summer of 2020, with most recent cost estimates for a single on-shore power adapter pegged at $12 million in 2012.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps told Black Press Media that overall she was very satisfied with the meeting as ideas were exchanged.

“I don’t think there’s anyone in that room who didn’t agree on balancing environment and economy,” Helps said. “Our goal is to be the most sustainable destination in the world.”

While the union workers were present because they were fearful of losing their jobs, Helps seemed certain this wasn’t a real threat.

“No one is talking about those jobs going away,” she said. “The industry is responding and it’s about creating jobs in a more sustainable way.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook Send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sidney council signals support for recreational cannabis store

A 6-1 vote sends application forward for final approval from province

Blackberry festival moves forward with drive-thru in Metchosin

Event takes place on Oct. 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Oak Bay High students do their best for COVID-19 Tour de Rock

Tour de Rock riders make socially responsible visit Friday

Long-time Central Saanich councillor named NDP candidate for Saanich North and the Islands

King, who joins election campaign one week after its start, hopes to unseat Adam Olsen

No ‘harmonious solution’ dogs on beaches in Saanich, community-led study finds

Cadboro Bay Residents’ Association present findings to council Sept. 28

B.C. counts 125 new COVID-19 cases, up to 1,284 active

No new deaths or health care facility outbreaks

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

First Nations Health Authority chief medical officer concerned with rising COVID-19 cases

“There’s still so much we don’t know and we’re learning everyday about this particular virus.”

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

FINLAYSON: COVID-related job losses concentrated in urban areas… especially Metro Vancouver

The biggest job losses, in absolute terms, have been in Metro Vancouver

6 puppies rescued in mass seizure on Princeton farm die from illness: BC SPCA

Of the 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized, most of the puppies suffered from parvo

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

U.S. boater fined $1,000 for violation of Quarantine Act

49-year-old man entered Canada to visit girlfriend in Surrey

Most Read