Wednesday, February 10, 2010

More Marina Shenanigans

The developer of the proposed mega-yacht marina for Victoria's Middle Harbour has started taking deposits on berths even though the marina has not been granted a single one of the myriad approvals required for its construction to begin. According to this Victoria Times-Colonist story, developer Bob Evans said that according to his plans construction is slated to start this summer for opening next year. Six weeks ago he began taking deposits on berths, some well over 100 metres long, at $10,000 each even though Transport Canada has not approved the plan, nor has the provincial government or the City of Victoria. The city is backing the bid from the South Island Sea Kayakers Association and others for an independent environmental review of the project.
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.
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.
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:
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].
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.
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.)

Click here to help Save Victoria's Harbour.


  1. For those who don't know, that image of the marina is an artist's conception of what that huge marina would look like, not an actual photo. Whew!
    And yeah, that looks like it would leave nowhere near enough room for kayaks to slip between shore and dock.

  2. kayakers don't go between the shore and the dock... that's never been the plan. we go right through the inside of the marina. at the west (left) end, the dock has a small raised section that we paddle under... that's the plan...