Harbour authority gets 5 years for shore power, new master plan

The City of Victoria has agreed to give the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority another five years to come up with a new master plan for the Breakwater District at Ogden Point.

Council has voted to give the harbour authority until the end of 2025 to develop the plan, while also requiring it to have installed shore power for cruise ships, develop a transportation plan to deal with cruise passengers in James Bay and ensure a higher percentage of waste from cruise ships is diverted from the landfill.

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Ian Robertson, chief executive of the harbour authority, said approval of the extension will allow the organization to focus its efforts on a series of environmental initiatives, including establishing shore power.

It is also expected to allow the harbour authority to address the aging infrastructure at its other facilities. The non-profit owns and operates marina and upland holdings throughout Victoria’s harbour, including Fisherman’s Wharf, Ship Point, Raymur Point Customs Dock, Steamship Terminal, the Inner Harbour Causeway and the Johnson and Broughton Street marinas.

“We are obviously happy council listened and we were able to make this work,” said Robertson, who noted the amendments council has added are manageable.

“We have already done some good work on ground transportation and this will allow us to talk about it.”

As for waste diversion, Robertson said there has already been a lot of progress made.

He estimated less than one per cent of all waste at Hartland Landfill comes from cruise ships.

“Quite honestly, the work the cruise lines do is very, very good in terms of recycling,” he said, adding they already divert more than 90% of all waste that comes off cruise ships away from the landfill.

“At the same time, cruise lines have said they intend to continue to reduce what heads into the landfill.”

Last month, Victoria councillors called for an increase in the fees charged to dump garbage from cruise ships at Hartland Landfill.

Councillors pointed out the CRD charges $157 per tonne of international solid waste, compared with Prince Rupert’s fee of $205 per tonne. General waste is charged $110 a tonne.

The CRD has said solid waste from cruise ships accounts for about 150 tonnes of the 10,000 to 12,000 tonnes of waste received at Hartland each month during the summer.

The harbour authority already had a tentative master plan. That plan, which would have taken decades to realize and cost in excess of $300 million, was unveiled in 2016 after 10 years of planning.

It suggested the site could include a hotel, stores, cruise-ship and other marine services, parks, walkways, First Nation displays and an educational component.

Instead of focusing on enacting that plan, the harbour authority will focus on shore power for cruise ships, working with the federal government on environmental remediation of Ogden Point’s deep-water port and improving other facilities.

The harbour authority estimates shore power would result in a 51 per cent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions from ships in port and 47 per cent reduction in all other emissions.

Robertson said the harbour authority has met with B.C. Hydro and determined there is enough power on the Island for shore power.

The harbour authority has also hired an engineering firm to put together a business case for shore power and determine the options available to pay the estimated $20-million cost.

Funding would likely involve the cruise-ship industry and various levels of government.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

— With a file from Lindsay Kines

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