British Columbia

Victoria council supports motion to curb cruise ships

The City of Victoria passed a motion Thursday that would regulate the number of cruise ships entering the harbour due to environmental concerns.

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority says it's disappointed and surprised

Local business owners worry that putting limits on cruise ship visits to Victoria will hurt its economy. (CHEK News)

The City of Victoria passed a motion Thursday that would regulate the number of cruise ships entering the harbour due to environmental concerns.

The motion makes four recommendations, including a request the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority halt any increase in ship visits until the city is satisfied efforts to address emissions and waste issues have been addressed.

Lisa Helps and councillors Marianne Alto and Ben Isitt tabled the motion.

The city declared a climate emergency in February and has been looking at ways to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Ian Robertson, the CEO of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA), says he is disappointed and surprised.

He also questioned whether the city has the legal authority to regulate the number of  visting cruise ships. 

He says the GVHA has already made berth commitments up to 2022 with several cruise lines and won't be backing out.

"Commitments have been made and I have no interest in halting that conversation," he told host Robyn Burns on CBC's All Points West. 

At the same time, Robertson said the authority would, of course, continue to work with the city — adding the cruise ship industry has made great strides to reduce its carbon footprint.

"We have an opportunity to educate mayor and council," he said. "Quite honestly right now, [the cruise lines] are compliant with the emissions laid out by the International Maritime Organization and Transport Canada."

The motion still needs to be ratified next week.

Council has also directed staff to examine the city's jurisdiction over regulations for the cruise ship industry with respect to waste and emissions.

Listen to the full interview here:

Robyn Burns spoke with Ian Robertson, CEO of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, about Victoria councillors approving a motion that seeks to limit the expansion of the cruise ship industry in Victoria. 10:27

With files from All Points West


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