Victoria saw more than 1M cruise ship passengers and crew in 2019
(CTV News File Photo)
B.C.'s capital welcomed more than one million cruise ship passengers and crew members in the 2019 season, according to the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA).
In total, 709,042 passengers and 294,956 crew disembarked on Victoria's shores from 257 different cruise ship calls.
While the GVHA was expecting 264 ship calls this season, seven were cancelled due to adverse weather and last-minute itinerary changes. However, despite having fewer stops than expected, Victoria still saw more cruise visitors than the 700,000 passengers that the GVHA predicted before the start of the season.
With the 2019 cruise ship season now complete, the GVHA is preparing for the arrival of steel to construct a 58-metre mooring extension at Ogden Point.
The extension at Pier B will allow for larger vessels to dock in Victoria and was originally scheduled for early 2019.
However, in December 2018, the initial shipment of steel was lost at sea during its trip to the island. The GVHA now expects the new shipment of steel to be delivered within the next two weeks, with the pier extension scheduled to be ready by the 2020 cruise ship season.
Back in January, the GVHA told CTV News that the loss of steel added approximately $3 million to $4 million to the project.
"That's required to re-engineer and design, and to source steel locally," said GVHA CEO Ian Robertson. "It's not something you can go out and get from Home Depot."
Meanwhile, the GVHA says that it is preparing for the upcoming 2020 cruise season, which is scheduled to begin on Apr. 3, 2020 and finish on Oct. 21, 2020. Next year, Victoria is expected to welcome 284 ship calls and roughly 770,000 cruise ship passengers.
While cruise ship passenger numbers continues to rise, earlier this month Victoria city council passed a controversial motion that could limit the number of vessels that dock in Victoria each year due to environmental concerns.
The motion recommends that city staff monitor the cruise ship industry and help create greener infrastructure for the massive vessels, like installing shore power for docked ships.
"We need an approach that aligns everyone behind common goals of mitigating and reducing environmental impacts while ensuring that the 800 indirect and direct jobs and the more than $130 million in economic impact are also prioritized and protected,” said Robertson in a statement on Oct. 16.