Victoria: First Ship for Alaska 2011 season, arrives at Ogden Point BC

Victoria: First Ship in today April 16, 2011
A sunny but very cold day today (6C -11C)
Took my spouse and Pinot (border collie)  down to see the first ship arrive in Victoria today to start the Alaska season 2011 for us.

Crystal Symphony  was in all day today and will be back on Monday, not a soul on the balconies. (it was cool and windy)

As usual (start of the Alaska Season)  all the ‘NIMBY’ folks are writing about the pollution and noise in the area that the ships dock.  Fair enough to want to have changes for health and environment reasons but do not cut off the hand that feeds you. As I posted last year , work with the port and cruise authorities and interested parties , they all have a vested interest.
This year we had a report prepared by a local economist who lives in the area so would have a vested interest. In his view, we are loosing monies based on non specific items, a suggestion is we have small boats take passengers from the docks to our downtown and area.  The basis is to reduce carbon footstep. This of course does not help folks who need help in walking and prefer buses or taxis or local horse carriages. It is an option to explore but not impose much like other ports in the world.

Quite sure if we dredged our inner harbour deeper and moved cruise ships to dock in that new area they would still make an issue as it is still located in the ‘NIMBY’ James Bay area.

From an economical  view I’d suggest we include these positive markers:
– Our local ship yards will be refitting three ships (RCL, Disney and HA)  in the next two months with crew and suppliers and special work crew in our hotels and bars et cetra and I’m not even including the workers in the dockyards. This is I believe our fourth year or more in having been awarded these contracts.
– Many visitors here for a day or a few hours have reported they will come back for a longer stay in our city and area. Much like when I visited Tortola last November for a day,  have decided we should return for a week or more.
– Traffic is busy but normally for the first and last few hours of a ship’s arrival,
– Our taxis are mainly Toyota Prius  Battery powered, Hybrids,
and our buses are mainly fueled by Bio fuels
– Excursions go to our many tourist sites employing local people including students.
– The taxes for the NIMBY folks would increase a lot if we did not have this industry
– If we did not have these cruise ships docking here and proven the services we offer,  then refit contracts would probably not have happened for our dockyards.

Ogden Point Docks (by RobBar 2010)

Ogden Point Docks; Ships in port (by RobBar 2010)

I think people tend to forget we are a seaport (if limited due to the main cruise season)  much like others around the world but we provide an alternative to Vancouver for access to shipping lines and offer a clean safe city to visit.
The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) is working to enhance our port facilities and with all its partners includng the cruise lines, let’s work together and address all concerns while welcoming visitors and crew to our shores.

Welcome to the crew and visitors of the Crystal Symphony , may you return to visit our shores again and always have safe travels .

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