Yesterday, the marina developers held an invitation-only press conference to present their side of the story and head off the publicity from today's protest rally. But the press conference didn't go so well. After a number of business supporters spoke in favour of the project, citing the usual mantras that Victoria is doomed if the harbour doesn't remain a working harbour, and that the project will create jobs for the region, the first question was from a news editor from Monday magazine. Developer Bob Evans has not liked Monday's coverage of the marina debate and asked the Monday reporter to leave. He did, and at that point most of the other press reportedly walked out as well. (No doubt this will encourage Monday to follow the developer's line from now on in its coverage. Not.)
Evans declared during his presentation that "kayakers are not bad people." Well, that's a relief.
Today's protest rally against the marina went off a little better. About 500 people on land and about 200 kayakers in the water met at the 6.5 acre site of the proposed marina that will house about 60 so-called mega-yachts.
Here, some paddlers gather at Ocean River's dock to paddle around to the protest site.
They're hard to see, but there's 5 orange markers on the water. They represent the footprint of the marina. The developer wants to be given a huge swath of public space and turn it into a private marina for the super-rich, taking away a public resource and no longer allowing the public to have access to it. He wants to take away the beauty of the harbour that everyone can share so that a private few can enjoy it. And make some money while he's doing it, of course. The public, who are being asked to give away this resource, will, of course, gain nothing.
The harbour is small -- there's not a lot of room. In addition to float planes, harbour taxis, whale-watching boats, as well as scores of both powered and unpowered recreational craft, there's also three ferry lines, including the Coho below. Is there even room for more traffic the harbour? A lot of people think there isn't.
A large flotilla gathered at the site of the proposed marina....
...and listened to some local politicians and others speak out against the proposal. (Noticeably absent, as usual, was Gary Lunn, local federal MP and federal Minister of State for Sport. Funny, I guess he just doesn't want to be seen with a few hundred local amateur sportspeople. Let Gary know how you feel about that: 250-656-2320 locally, or 613-996-1119 in Ottawa.)
By the way, the yellow balloons represent the height off the water of the marina.
It was a large and well-behaved crowd, and if nothing else it was great for kayak-watching.
Click here for information on the campaign to help stop the marina. Local media covered the event here, here and here. Local online B Channel News also covered the event, and asked to use some of my pictures to boot. Their story is here.
And I shot some video that's embedded below: