Before COVID-19 struck, every cruise ship that lumbered into Victoria Harbour paid to Victoria’s Greater Victoria Harbour Authority – directly – a hefty fee – that’s where the Authority got 70% of its revenues. COVID shut down cruise-ships and the Authority is insolvent and desperately attempting to persuade the U.S. Government to force U.S.-based cruise ships to dock at Victoria after COVID is over. The Authority is whistling in the wind says Paul Servos, a former manager and CEO of the Authority … https://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/op-ed/comment-our-new-reality-is-fewer-cruise-ship-visits-that-s-not-necessarily-a-bad-thing-1.24362991 in an op/ed that, amazingly, the Victoria Times Colonist published earlier this month. The Times Colonist later published a raft of letters to the editor against the cruise-ship industry and not one letter supporting it.
Servos painted a realistic picture of the Authority’s love affair with the cruise-ship industry. He pointed out that the industry – as far as Victoria is concerned is built upon a house of cards that’s bound to collapse.
Servos didn’t say whether or not the ships ever contributed much — if anything — to Victoria’s economy.
The cruise ship industry has always claimed they brought tremendous benefits to Victoria, but their boosters and Victoria’s movers and shakers have never bothered to question their claims. The Authority’s mini-empire did get paid from every cruise ship that docked in Victoria and the Authority spent the fees like a drunken sailor.
Now it’s time to face the fact that tourism is Victoria’s life blood and it’s time to do something for it. Tourists come here to savour Victoria’s harbour and heritage buildings (not to gape at the ugly skyscrapers city planners insist on foisting on us). If the planners and their buddies, real estate developers and speculators, have their way they’ll turn Victoria into a two-bit copy of Chicago. It’s time to stop lobbying the U.S. government and starting to clean up Victoria and her heritage.
What we need is not s committee of movers and shakers bowing and scraping to planners, developer/speculators and cruise-ship companies but a first-class leader who can step out of the box and inspire and rebuild historical heritage and inspire Victorians – the way Mayor Peter Pollen did in the 70s and 80s.