Victoria, Canada Cruise industry update

A message from Ian Robertson, CEO, Greater Victoria Harbour Authority

On Oct. 24, the City of Victoria Mayor & Council approved a motion that focused on the business of cruise in Victoria. The requests read as follows:

  1. That Council direct staff to report back on the City’s jurisdiction on regulations for the cruise ship industry with respect to waste and emissions, and on the potential of requiring shore power by a particular date in order to significantly reduce and eventually eliminate the negative impact of waste, carbon emissions and particulate matter from the ships while they are in the City of Victoria.
  2. That Council invite the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority to present the recent study it commissioned which outlines the impact of cruise operations on the environment in a workshop at an upcoming COTW meeting.
  3. That Council request that the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority work more aggressively with the cruise ship industry to install shore power at Ogden Point.
  4. That Council request that the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority not increase the number of cruise ships coming to Victoria, sign any long-term contracts, or consider home-porting cruise ships until the emissions and waste issues are dealt with to the satisfaction of Council based on the advice of the Director of Engineering and Public Works.
  5. Council direct staff to work with GVHA and the CRD to reduce the volume of solid waste being disposed of from the cruise ship sector.

This does not mean that cruise will be limited, or that the decision has been made to reduce the number of ships calling to Victoria. Cruise lines work two years out in planning their detailed schedules and the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority is under a 10-year strategic plan and three-year business plan; combined, the industry outlook in our city remains strong and steadfast.

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority is focused on working cooperatively and in collaboration with the Mayor & Council, City staff, and our partners to address the motion and its various requests. We understand the challenge of climate change and the drive toward reduction, mitigation and resiliency across all industries and sectors. This is part of our guiding principles and a priority for our organization. But that must come with an understanding of the facts, the big picture, and a triple-bottom line approach to the industry in Victoria.

Cruise is valued at more than $130 million annually to the regional economy and is responsible for more than 800 direct and indirect jobs in Greater Victoria. This is not to be taken lightly or dismissed. It is our role to continue to communicate this to the community.

The actions we have taken and are taking with regard to this motion:

  • We worked with the Mayor to correct information in the motion that was presented to Council. While we don’t directly support the motion, we are pleased that most of our recommended changes were accepted.
  • We have been proactive in engaging with media and sharing our willingness to cooperate with the City, as well as our goal of mitigating the impacts of climate change where we have the responsibility, authority, and ability to effect change.
  • We worked with CLIA and CLIA-NWC to ensure that Mayor & Council were informed of the work being done at the industry level. This was sent in the form of a letter from Charlie Ball, Chair, CLIA-NWC.
  • Earlier this year, we commissioned a full-scale emissions inventory and carbon audit of the Victoria Cruise Terminal with Synergy Enterprises, a well-known carbon accounting and energy solutions company. Their findings are available here.
  • On Sept. 20, our Board of Directors passed a motion for our organization to explore the feasibility of shore power at the Victoria Cruise Terminal, which is already underway by our leadership team. This was the result of the recommendations brought forward from Synergy when they concluded their emissions inventory.
  • We will present to Council as part of a working session on the cruise industry in Victoria, bringing partners from CLIA, Tymac, and Synergy Enterprises to engage on technical questions and the identification of opportunities. This is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 5.
  • We will continue to stand up for the cruise industry in Victoria.

Let’s keep it positive. Our city and our industry thrive on calm, measured decisions built on collaboration and cooperation. We get further together.