Greater Victoria Harbour Authority’s proposal for the CPR Steamship Terminal building is a travesty in the making.
There is a distinction between tourist services and tourist attractions. Another restaurant and more shops will not bring tourists to this city. Victoria needs a keynote cultural attraction, certainly not two floors of waterfront administrative offices for the GVHA as outlined in their plan.
The Belleville Street terminal has been in a state of disrepair for a generation and the GVHA should have come up with something better long ago.
Other port cities proud of their maritime heritage provide a wonderful opportunity to explore their harbour and history, such as Halifax, San Francisco, Rotterdam, Copenhagen and Oslo. Paris has a fabulous maritime museum overlooking the Eiffel tower. The U.K. has too many to list.
We should celebrate Victoria’s heritage with a maritime museum in this beautiful building. GVHA’s vision, mandate and guiding principles all promote this concept. Their vision statement reads, “We envision a harbour where people live, learn, work, and play; a spectacular gateway into Victoria’s past and into its future”.
The Maritime Museum of B.C.’s proposal clearly embraces this vision.
The chairman of the Provincial Capital Commission, Bill Wellburn, is also the treasurer of the GVHA. They control $10 million of public money. I fear Victoria is doomed for more mediocrity.