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

Escaped python found in Saanich building reunited with its owner

The little snake is at ‘home, safe and sound,’ CRD chief bylaw officer says

UVic closes Finnerty Gardens and popular dog park Cedar Corner

Regular dog walkers to Cedar Corner sent elsewhere during pandemic

Highway 1 tree removal impacts traffic Tuesday evening

Work starts April 7 at 6 p.m. between Finlayson Arm Road and Westshore Parkway

Art galleries innovate in a time of crisis

The pandemic crisis has forced most local art galleries to shift online,… Continue reading

Victoria police seek public’s help finding man missing more than a week

Joel Diment 26 and has short brown hair and hazel eyes

Mental Health: Planning for a crisis

Crisis planning lays out a blueprint in case hard times hit

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

Comox spring training cancelled for Snowbirds next month

The team announced that due to ongoing travel restrictions they will not be training in the Valley

Some Cowichan schools to reopen for children of essential-services workers

Cowichan Valley will open 8 elementary schools this week

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

Physiotherapists turn to technology to reach patients during COVID-19

Just because services, jobs, and socializing have been put on hold, it… Continue reading

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

Most Read