Since moving to Victoria in 2004, I have witnessed various governing bodies make decisions that have had a negative impact on tourism.
The Provincial Capital Commission closed the popular Crystal Garden. The University of Victoria closed the glass-blowing studio and art gallery on Yates Street. Government House cancelled the popular annual Halloween pumpkin display.
Saanich restricted hours of automobile access to the heights of Mount Douglas. The harbour authority threatened the existence of float homes at Fisherman’s Wharf with exorbitant moorage fees, and forced the wax museum out when it renovated the old steamship terminal.
Community organizations successfully lobbied to reduce the size of the new harbour marina, threatening its viability. Other organizations constantly lobby against cruise ships and floatplanes.
And the city of Victoria has banned multiple-performer busker bands from downtown, and is increasing fees paid by pedi-cabs and horse carriages while restricting when and where they may go. It has restricted automobile access to Beacon Hill Park, refused zoning for a development that would have brought a satellite art gallery downtown into the heart of the tourist area, and refused a liquor licence to a sophisticated, high-class billiard parlour.
And, of course, it recently jettisoned the Johnson Street rail bridge. The Capital Regional District will now allow a sewer plant to be build at the entrance of our scenic harbour.
The cumulative effect of these decisions, made in isolation, may explain why we have fewer tourists today, and why we can expect fewer tomorrow.
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