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Not Everyone Happy to See Cruise Ships Return to Victoria BC

Marg Gardiner, president of the James Bay Neighborhood Association and Fair Sailing groups would like to see cruise ships skip their visit to her neighborhood.

The Province reports that not everyone is excited to see cruise ships returning to Victoria, BC harbor this summer. This year, according to the Province, a record 358 cruise ships are scheduled to visit Victoria, bringing 780,000 passengers.

Marg Gardiner is the president of the James Bay Neighborhood Association and Fair Sailing groups, and most of those 780,000 cruise ship visitors will be walking through her James Bay neighborhood. James Bay is primarily a seniors community that sits right in the path of cruisers who decided to walk into Victoria. So for the last sixteen years, Gardiner and her "Fair Sailing" group have been fighting against cruise ships, armed with their own studies demonstrating the adverse effects on her neighborhood from traffic, cruise ship noise, and pollution.

Now Gardiner is worried that cruisers will now bring Covid to her home. She worried about this is despite the many rules and regulations to prevent that from happening. Gardiner told the Province, "The ships from Alaska that start at the end of April will be coming from an area that is on red alert for COVID where about 35 percent of residents aren't vaccinated," Gardiner said. "So there's plenty of opportunities for those tourists to become infected in the three ports-of-call there before visiting Victoria."

Ian Robertson, CEO of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and a champion of the cruise industry, responded by saying, "welcoming ships no matter what their rating is a fact of life, and we're going to have to accept that. And the steps being taken are more robust than going to an all-inclusive in Mexico or landing at the Victoria airport."

Paul Nursey, CEO of Destination Greater Victoria added I am a James Bay resident myself, and they are a very small number of residents. They're welcome to express their views, but our industry members govern us, and I'm not interested in meeting with them.


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