VICTORIA -- Victoria's city council has passed a motion to potentially increase cruise ship waste dumping fees in the region.

The motion, which was first proposed by councillor Ben Isitt, advocates for increased tipping fees to offset environmental concerns and to conserve landfill space.

Currently, the Capital Regional District (CRD) charges $157 per tonne at the Hartland Landfill for international waste. The $157 charge is roughly 43 per cent higher than normal dumping fees at the landfill, but below the regional average for international waste, says city council.

The council's motion suggests that Victoria's lower dumping fee relative to other ports partly incentivizes cruise ships to increase the amount of waste that they dump on the island, as it is cheaper than removing their waste in other ports.

"To be frank, the intention is to create a bit of a deterrent or to shift the price signal somewhat so that something less than all of the waste is being disposed of in this region," said councillor Isitt in a Victoria committee of the whole meeting Thursday.

"We're not a home port and yet, for some reason, we seem to be bearing the brunt of a substantial downside of the industry – which is all of the waste, including fairly problematic forms of waste, like medical waste."

The motion was passed by all members of city council except for Geoff Young, who voiced concerns about the council's decision potentially signaling hostility towards the industry.

"Now we want to pass another motion where we're saying, 'we don't exactly know what this fee should be, we think other regions have higher fees, but we want you to raise it'," said Young.

"I think that will be perceived as something that indicates – or confirms, unfortunately – a general attitude of lack of receptiveness and even hostility towards the industry," he said. "Which is an industry that a lot of regions would like to have." 

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said that she supported bringing the city's tipping fee to levels similar to other B.C. cruise ship ports. Prince Rupert, for example, has an international waste dumping fee of $205 while Victoria's sits at $157, she said.

"Why do we not have a fee commiserate to Prince Rupert?" asked Helps. 

In December, when the motion was first proposed, the head of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA), Ian Robertson, told CTV News that the impact of multiple motions related to the cruise ship industry could send an unwelcoming message to cruise lines and passengers. 

"A combination of factors happening, it certainly doesn't send a very positive signal," said Robertson.

With the motion passed, Victoria city staff will begin discussing with the CRD about formal plans to increase the city's international waste disposal fees.