Local kayakers and other paddlers are opposed to the project as will curtail access between the Inner and Outer harbours. (The developer has proposed a small paddling path through the marina -- kayaks will be mixing in close quarters with huge mega-yachts well over 100 metres in length.) Other have argued that the marina will congest an already crowded harbour, and others worry that the harbour's ambiance and public access will be lost to a private project that caters to only super-rich tourists.
The article continues:
Marina critics complain of lack of public consultation and openness in the proposal process. Close to 7,000 signatures were collected on a petition presented to the provincial and federal governments last year citing concerns about the development.The Tyee reports that while developers acknowledges the uncertain state of the project, the home page on the marina's website seems to imply that the facility will open next year. "In 2011, the yachting world will welcome the Victoria International Marina. Early reservation and slip selection will guarantee your place and access to the spectacular cruising waterways of BC and the Pacific Northwest." And some heavy hitters are lining up on the developers side, as Monday magazine recently reported that federal Minister of International Trade Stockwell Day wrote federal Transportation Minister John Baird in support of the marina bid. Monday's report continued:
Senior governments should take into account community interest, and the intent of the 1980s zoning at Songhees and the planning processes that went into it, said Victoria Councillor John Luton.
"As far as anybody can recollect, and certainly [from] the appearance from our planning documents, is that a small community marina for sailing ships and kayaks was envisioned, but not a parking lot for Hummers of the sea."
The issue of riparian rights -- governing land adjacent to a natural body of water -- has been raised with the province as well, Luton said. Victoria owns Lime Bay Park, at the foot of Catherine Street and Cooperage Place, and the waterlot extends past that park.
"Because Lime Bay is at one end of the waterlot, it means that they can't necessarily build the marina to impede that particular piece of the foreshore." The city must be able to access its land with a 12-metre boat, he said.
The city is asserting its legal claim to those rights to preserve the park setting and views, Luton said.
What precisely Day hopes Baird can accomplish is unclear, as the project is supposed to be undergoing impartial environmental and harbour traffic reviews to determine its suitability for the location. Critics of the project continue to wonder whether Evans' standing in the Conservative Party will enable the marina's proponents to circumvent certain regulatory requirements.Monday also reported that:
Lawyer Bruce Hallsor has registered to lobby the provincial government on behalf of [the marina developers].Meanwhile Victoria Member of Parliament Denise Savoie has asked the federal commissioner of lobbying to investigate allegations about the involvement of possible political insiders in the Marina proposal. (read her letter here.)
That registration was made Oct. 29, according to the provincial registry, two weeks after Hallsor told the Tyee he and a colleague in his firm did not believe his activities on [the developer]'s behalf met the provincial definition of “lobbying”. It was also more than 32 months after Hallsor met with then cabinet minister Stan Hagen about the project.
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