Impact felt after Victoria cruise ship emissions motion

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WatchIt's a squabble that may already made an impact on some local businesses. A City of Victoria motion looking to limit emissions from the cruise industry has worried some buisnesse's banks, along with cruise operators. As Julian Kolsut reports, Victoria's harbour authority says it could have all been avoided.

The motion by Victoria’s Mayor Lisa Helps, and Councillors Ben Issit and Marianne alto to reduce cruise ship emissions have had an impact on businesses and the industry.

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority says some cruise lines are concerned, and Destination Greater Victoria says some businesses that rely on the industry have to do more to support their creditworthiness to banks.

It all follows after the motion asks the GVHA not to sign long term contracts or increase vessel numbers until shore power is installed. But one of the big questions is who would pay. The cost of shore power would be two million dollars more than the harbour authority’s annual revenue.

“The price tag is a minimum of 15-million dollars, it could be higher, what we don’t even know if there is enough of the power coming over to the Island to support the plugging in of cruise ships,” said GVHA CEO Ian Robertson.

Robertson says he was speaking to the mayor as the motion was being drafted, but when it was presented Robertson says he and the industry were taken back by the motion calling on just the authority and the industry to pay.

The mayor has now clarified that they are not expecting the authority to pay, and will also be looking to some possible federal funds. But they still hope that the cruise industry will be one of the main contributors.

“My understanding that talking with him and others he was caught off guard by the fact that I was suggesting that taxpayers shouldn’t pay for shore power,” said Helps.

“He honestly saw the first version of the report in September… I really don’t think the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority  should pay for shore power, what I do think is that industry does have a role to play…. there may also be funding streams from senior levels of government that are focused specifically on the electrification of cruise.”

In 2009, the Port of Vancouver says the Canada Place cruise ship terminal became the first in Canada and third in the world to offer shore power for cruise ships.  When a cruise ship hooks up to shore power at Canada Place, BC Hydro will bill the cruise line directly for the power used during the connection.

There have been 556 successful shore power connections at the port, which equates to a total of 6,574 tons of fuel savings, more than 20,000 tons of greenhouse gas emission reductions, and 583 tons of air pollutant reductions.

The federal government worked with the port to create the project.

But Roberson says the small squabble could have all been avoided.

“What I would have liked is an opportunity to have presented the full emissions report to mayor and council so they would have been more informed prior to the motion,” said Robertson.

Now some businesses who rely on the industry have to cope with the aftermath.

“We did receive some calls from some small businesses, that they need to re-forecast and do more due diligence to support their creditworthiness.,” said Paul Nursey, president and CEO of Destination Greater Victoria.

“We are just encouraging calm and balance from all sides so that our local small businesses aren’t the unintended victims.

Julian KolsutJulian Kolsut

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