The ethos of our organization is to advocate for the best current and future working harbour possible. GVHA’s challenge as a steward of harbour properties is to preserve these places in good condition for future generations.

Our definition of a healthy working harbour in this century includes activities that operate without negative impact to water quality or marine ecosystems.

The need to operate our deep-sea and marina facilities alike in a sustainable manner is driven by GVHA’s vision and mandate along with the involvement of the wider community. Sustainability forms one of our guiding principles. GVHA has a wide variety of member agencies – from cities and towns to neighbourhood associations and First Nations – which benefit from harbour facilities that meet or exceed environmental standards. 

Corporate Operations

GVHA corporate office operations strive to create the healthiest, most productive work environments possible for GVHA staff.

Transportation – We encourage our employees to use less carbon-intensive means of transportation. This is usually a bicycle, a bus, or walking to work.Energy Conservation – Building lights and heat are turned off at night. Shop lights have been changed to energy-efficient bulbs.

Reduce, Re-use, Recycle – GVHA uses non-disposable dishes, and no longer use individual milk or creamers for coffee. Plastic, glass, paper and kitchen waste are recycled. The GVHA Board of Directors operates on a paperless system, where all agendas and documents are circulated electronically, and GVHA staff are using virtual Microsoft tools such as SharePoint and teleconferencing to reduce our Carbon footprint.

Carbon Footprint – GVHA joined the Climate Smart program in 2012 to find ways to reduce our environmental impact while cutting costs and improving operational efficiencies. Working with Climate Smart advisors on an annual basis, GVHA measures Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions from our operations.

Environmental Activities – GVHA staff annually participate in the Victoria Harbour and Esquimalt shoreline cleanups, World Ocean’s Day at Fisherman’s Wharf, World Environment Day and Earth Week events across the region.  

Hold On To Your Butt Campaign in partnerhip with Surfrider Vancouver Island – GVHA has eight ashcan bins located in various areas on our properties. The cigarette butts in the ashcans get collected and sent back to TerraCycle, where the waste is recycled into various products.

Port Operations

Green Marine – GVHA participates in the voluntary Green Marine assessment program for marine industrial facilities. Under the program, GVHA is working to improve rankings by reducing greenhouse gas emissions as part of moving beyond simple regulatory compliance.Green Marine’s rigorous independent audit evaluated The Breakwater District at Ogden Point operations in four environmental categories on a scale of 1 to 5. Level 1 shows regulatory compliance and Level 5 illustrates excellence and leadership. Reaching level 3 is demanding: participants must benchmark their environmental impacts and have implemented best practices and management plans. The chart below indicates the scores received at The Breakwater District at Ogden Point for the past two years. The average score of 4 across the evaluated categories in 2013 and 2014 demonstrate an upward trend and is significantly higher than Green Marine’s global average score of 3.1. 

Air Quality – The North American Emission Control Area (ECA), under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), came into effect from August 1, 2012, bringing in stricter controls on emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and fine particulate matter for ships trading off the coasts of Canada and the US. Effective January 1, 2015, Canadian and the United States regulations required large vessels such as those visiting The Breakwater District at Ogden Point to burn fuel that contains less than 0.1% sulphur content or to adopt technology that results in the emissions of traditional fuel meeting the same standard.  Accordingly, the cruise industry has made significant investments in technology to manage air quality impacts. As cruise ships complete their retrofits to meet the new regulations, either through using more efficient fuels or by installing onboard scrubber technology, sulphur dioxide emissions will be virtually eliminated. Scrubber technology works by cleaning or “scrubbing” the majority of sulphur dioxide and other particulate matter out of exhaust gas emissions.

Water Quality – Potable water quality monitoring is conducted regularly. All analyses and reporting are performed by the Capital Regional District. Water is tested for coliforms, residual chlorine levels, and turbidity.

Recycling – Waste handling and recycling services are available for cruise ships calling at The Breakwater District at Ogden Point. Processing and recycling of oily water, sewage, paper, plastic, glass, metals and batteries as well as any hazardous wastes is performed by certified local environmental contractors. All cruise ship waste handling is performed in conjunction with certified environmental officers stationed on each ship.

Marina Operations

Clean Marine – Clean Marine BC is a voluntary environmental assessment program for marinas, harbour authorities, yacht clubs and boatyards. GVHA marinas are audited by an independent organization every three years on best practices for fuel and energy use, drainage, water quality, condition of the grounds, water conservation and waste management methods. Based on our 2018 accreditation, GVHA marinas received a 5-anchor rating, the highest possible rating, putting the organization’s marinas among a small group of facilities along the coast.

Water Quality – All GVHA marina facilities do not allow moorage clients to discharge sewage, as per regulation by Transport Canada. All live-aboard vessels must have working holding tanks. We operate a static operated pump-out station for all Transient Clients.

High-capacity oily water separators service fuel tank footprints and the central and western parts of parking lots at Fisherman’s Wharf. All commercial restaurant businesses on the dock are required to have grease traps for water treatment prior to sewage discharge.

Waste Management Program – GVHA’s solid waste management program includes the collection and disposal of garbage, recycling, and compost from all activities on all GVHA properties. From April 2014 to March 2015, GVHA generated just over 150 tons of waste, of which 50 tons was recycled, indicating a 32% diversion rate. 

Dock Construction – GVHA incorporated maintenance-free dock and mooring systems that can be efficiently moved into the third phase of upgrading Fisherman’s Wharf. Recyclability and life cycle were all considered during the upgrade, making it the first of its kind in North America.