It’s been in the works for more than a decade. And for the first time today, the public is getting a first-hand look at Victoria’s new mega yacht marina. The project in Victoria’s Harbour will provide 28 slips for luxury super-yachts. But the big project isn’t earning high praise from everyone.

The new Victoria International Marina is set to welcome its first visitors in early August.

“So we’ll open doors to boats at that point and then we’ll open the doors and our grand opening, which would really be the final although it will be open, but our grand opening will be in the spring next year,” Community Marine Concepts CEO Craig Norris said.

With an original $24-million dollar price-tag, this luxury marina is nearing completion for an estimated $35 million.

It can host 28 mega yachts between 65 and 175 feet, and expected to make have an economic impact, as one yacht is estimated to bring $1 million per visit.

“There’s incredible amounts of money. These are small businesses these yachts that run,” Norris said.

“They have crews, they need facilities. One of them came into the marina last summer spent $20,000 in one day.”

The vision started 30-years ago, but many have not been on board.

With concerns over the marina’s impact on views and limited water access rights, the plans were changed from 52 slips for yachts to 28.

And developers have tried to address concerns for human powered boats.

“Even the kayak routes and the paddle corridors and making sure the traffic can go, there’s severe accommodation there,” Norris said.

“I’ve spoken to the marina itself and they’ve assured me that there was going to be two points of access,” Victoria Kayak Rentals Owner Joanna Twa said.

But not everyone feels the changes are holding water for safety.

“A paddling corridor, which in any mariner’s estimation is non-functional,” Fairway Gorge Paddling Club General Manager Erik Ages said.

“It is not a safe or viable passage.”

Ages said the placement of the marina is a major change in the way the harbour will operate.

“It is a substantial pinch point and a safety concern that we will have to adjust to. And that adjustment means moving into commercial traffic lanes, which have their own hazards.”

With an estimated 150 yacht visits per year, time will tell what impact the added traffic will have in Victoria’s waterways.

Andy Neal