Our Strategic Plan

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) was created as a not for profit society to assume responsibility for Harbour properties divested from the Federal Government to local control in 2002. The Harbour lies in the Traditional Territory of the Lekwungen People of the Esquimalt Nation and the Songhees Nation, and GVHA lands and waters are adjacent to several Victoria neighbourhoods.

GVHA is accountable to its 8 Member Agencies: The Esquimalt Nation, the Songhees Nation, the City of Victoria, the Township of Esquimalt, the Capital Regional District, The Chamber, Tourism Victoria and the Victoria Esquimalt Harbour Society.

GVHA’s customers include cruise lines, shipping companies, commercial vessels, recreational yachts and boats, live-aboards, float homes and commercial customers. GVHA has fee simple ownership or leasehold interests in three main locations: The Breakwater District at Ogden Point, Fisherman’s Wharf and the Inner Harbour:

  • The Breakwater District at Ogden Point Deep Water Terminal – Nearly nine hectares of land and seabed, including four berths, breakwater, warehouse, staging area, helicopter terminal, and other commercial buildings;
  • Fisherman’s Wharf – Four and a half hectares of land and seabed, providing moorage for general moorage vessels including commercial fishing vessels, fish off-loading facilities, fuel dock, float home community, and other commercial and recreational activities;
  • Raymur Point – a pocket marina leased from Transport Canada east of Fisherman’s Wharf housing the new customs dock;
  • Wharf Street and Johnson Street Marinas – Commercial, annual and guest moorage for vessels, commercial vessels, and float plane moorage at the Hyack Terminal;
  • Ship Point, Lower Causeway and Steamship Float – Tourist recreational area and guest moorage facilities, public pathway around the Harbour, host to various Victoria marine and community events, eco-tourism activities, and other commercial activities; and
  • The Steamship Terminal Building – A four-storey historic Victoria landmark on the Inner Harbour which has been restored to a vibrant commercial and cultural hub with a focus on public access. Leased from the Provincial Government.

The Strategic Plan 2015-2025 was developed by the GVHA’s Board of Directors and leadership team, in consultation with Member Agencies, staff and stakeholders.

Over the next 10 years, the GVHA will implement this Strategic Plan, continue to consult with Member Agencies and other stakeholders and respond to emerging issues and opportunities in the Harbour such as:

  • The evolving case law regarding traditional territory and the relationship with local First Nations;
  • Business innovation, tourism development, revenue diversification and socially responsible development of Ogden Point, Fisherman’s Wharf, and other GVHA owned or leased properties;
  • The development and improvements of Inner Harbour properties and facilities by a number of owners and operators such as:
    • Victoria International Marina;
    • Belleville Terminal;
    • Harbour Air Terminal;
    • Ship Point;
    • Enterprise Wharf;
    • Rock Bay; and
    • the proposed David Foster Harbour PathWay;
  • Marketing the Harbour as a tourism destination;
  • Environmental requirements and technological innovation; and
  • Additional Federal divestiture of properties and responsibilities, such as the Seabed and the Water Airport, to local control in a manner yet to be determined.

As this is a 10 Year Strategic Plan, it is a high level articulation of goals and strategies with no intended priority. More detail about GVHA’s short and medium term priorities and initiatives, within the context of the framework established by the Strategic Plan, will be set out in forthcoming Business Plans, Annual Operating Plans and Budgets.

GVHA will continue to report to the public on its activities, accomplishments and results in Annual Reports.

A definition of planning terms used in this Strategic Plan is attached in an Appendix.


The legal authority and overarching direction for this 10-year Strategic Plan comes from the constitution of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, established under the Society Act in 2002.


We envision:

  • a working Harbour where people live, learn, work, and play; a spectacular gateway into Victoria’s past and into its future, with a vibrant look and feel, linking communities and all people together.
  • a GVHA organization that is recognized by the community as an effective marine asset manager, and as a trusted advocate and partner, working for the common good of the Harbour and the Region.


In fulfilling our Constitution, we perform three distinct yet complementary roles:

  • Owners and managers of the properties entrusted to us through divestiture or under lease;
  • Advocates for best water and marine-related use and development of the whole Harbour and its assets, regardless of ownership, in accordance with our guiding principles; and
  • Partners or collaborators with others in implementing Harbour initiatives that drive economic, social and environmental benefits for the Region.

Guiding Principles

GVHA’s actions and decisions will be guided by the following principles:

1. First Nations Relationship – We commit to working in partnership with the Esquimalt Nation and the Songhees Nation as they pursue their cultural and economic aspirations in the Harbour.

2. Triple Bottom Line – We commit to generating broad economic and social benefit from the use of our properties, while continuously mitigating adverse social and environmental impacts in local neighbourhoods and to our land, air and water.

3. Financial Self-Sustainability – We commit to structuring and managing GVHA in a financially prudent manner, and to ensuring the long term sustainability of the organization and its assets without recourse to local subsidies.

4. Working Harbour – We commit to promoting the Harbour as a working Harbour seeking out opportunities to help advance industrial, commercial and tourism related enterprises – “where commerce requiring the connection between the land and water takes place”.

5. Accountability – We commit to act in the public interest of the Harbour on behalf of GVHA’s Member Agencies, their stakeholders and the people of the region, and to be held publicly accountable for our activities and results.


We aspire to achieve the following measurable outcomes:

1. Economic, Social and Environmental Benefit for the Region

2. Financial Self-Sufficiency & Responsible Stewardship of GVHA Properties

3. A Trusted Advocate for the Working Harbour

4. Effective Governance and Accountability

Success Measures


Goal 1 – Economic, Social and Environmental Benefit for the Region

1. Facilitating innovative development on GVHA properties that support industrial, commercial and tourism uses and generate improvements to the public realm. This may include attracting new 3rd party investment to the region;

2. Creating and supporting initiatives that will advance the aspirations of the Songhees Nation and the Esquimalt Nation in the Harbour;

3. Developing and implementing socially responsible measures that support complementary industrial, commercial and tourism related enterprises, ensuring that the international cruise ship business continues to thrive thereby generating economic benefit for the region;

4. Supporting the creation of public spaces that contribute to the vibrancy of the harbour and a quality of life experience enjoyed by citizens and visitors alike;

5. Engaging with Member Agencies, GVHA customers, port and harbour business operators and stakeholders on ways and means to mitigate adverse social and environmental impacts of economic activity on GVHA property;

6. Collaborating with other stakeholders on an economic impact study of the working Harbour;

7. Supporting community events and activities, whether they be: a. GVHA-led or supported by GVHA staff involvement; or b. For other local, not-for-profit organizations through grants, sponsorships or “contributions in kind” such as the use of GVHA property or facilities;

8. Implementing GVHA environmental policies, plans and initiatives;

9. Employing and promoting the use of safe marine operational practices on our properties and in the Harbour;

10. Collaborating with other Harbour owners and operators and emergency responders such as the Canadian Coast Guard to complete an Emergency Management Plan for the Harbour; and

11. Working with industry and regulatory authorities on environmental standards and regulations.

Goal 2 – Financial Self-Sufficiency & Responsible Stewardship of GVHA Properties

1. Being customer-focused and ensuring that GVHA meets the needs of all our customers in a business-like manner;

2. Finalizing and implementing Master Plans for the development of GVHA properties;

3. Identifying and implementing revenue growth and diversification initiatives that will financially support GVHA operational and capital plans without recourse to local subsidies;

4. Implementing the Life Cycle Asset Management Plans and the Long Term Capital Plan;

5. Adhering to robust financial and risk management practices;

6. Developing innovative and efficient business practices; and

7. Maintaining a GVHA Business Continuity Plan.

Goal 3 – A Trusted Advocate for the Working Harbour

1. Advancing the interests of the Songhees Nation and the Esquimalt Nation on their traditional territories consistent with their rights, and facilitating public awareness of First Nations’ history and presence in the area;

2. Supporting and facilitating stakeholder collaboration to develop and implement a shared vision for the future of the working Harbour that supports industrial, commercial and tourism uses;

3. Advocating for the working Harbour and marine-related industrial, commercial and tourism uses and enterprises;

4. Engaging with all orders of government and the private sector to pursue new opportunities and investment for the Harbour; and

5. Engaging on Harbour issues with Member Agencies and stakeholders such as:

  • Regulatory authorities and Federal, Provincial, regional, municipal and First Nation governments;
  • Adjacent property owners;
  • Neighbourhood Advisory Committees;
  • Customer Advisory Committees; and
  • Local business operators and business associations.

Goal 4 – Effective Governance and Accountability

1. Convening regular meetings with GVHA Member Agencies to present our Plans and Reports and engaging Member Agencies in strategic discussions on issues and opportunities;

2. Selecting and appointing Board Directors that collectively have the range of experience and skills to competently provide direction and oversight of GVHA’s activities;

3. Investing in Director education to build Board capacity;

4. Ensuring that the public is consistently informed on GVHA operations and initiatives;

5. Managing a transparent, consultative planning & accountability process for GVHA; and

6. Making periodic recommendations to the Member Agencies regarding the society’s Constitution and Bylaws.

Appendix – Planning Terminology and Definitions Used in this Strategic Plan

Mandate – sets out the legal authority and purpose of the organization

Vision – a statement of the organization’s aspirations

Mission – a statement that articulates what the organization does

Guiding Principles – are concepts that should followed in decisions and actions

Goals – are broad, primary outcome statements about the ends the organizations wishes to achieve; the Goals should align with the Mandate, Vision and Mission and be measurable, achievable and relevant

Success Measures – are the criteria to be used to assess the extent to which each Goal has been achieved

Strategies – are the means used to achieve a specific Goal – usually the most significant initiatives or activities that the organization will employ to achieve the desired ends