Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and two city councillors have tabled a motion to limit the number of cruise ships that visit B.C.'s capital due to environmental concerns.

Helps, along with councilors Marianne Alto and Ben Isitt, are recommending that the city cap the number of vessels that dock on Victoria's shores and forego any long term contracts until the effects of cruise ship emissions and waste can be measured.

According to the Capital Regional District, approximately 150 tonnes of waste are dumped into the Hartland Landfill every month during the cruise ship season.

"While this is only 1% of all waste disposed in the landfill, it is a significant amount of offshore waste dumped in our local landfill," reads the motion.

Back in August, a Victoria resident told CTV News she was concerned about the amount of garbage the island receives from cruise ships.

"I feel that most of the people in Victoria have no idea that we are taking all of the garbage from every cruise ship that comes in here," said Linda Klein, whose condo overlooks a waste-processing facility, back in August

Besides limiting the number of cruises that can come to the South Island, the motion calls for city staff to review cruise ship industry regulations and to potentially install electric power sources for docking ships.

To conduct this research, the motion suggests that the city continue to work on its environmental building and transportation projects, and only add cruise ship industry-related assignments as resources become available. Next year, during the 2020 budgeting process, the motion recommends that staff look at how to incorporate cruise ship projects into Victoria's Climate Leadership Plan.

"In a climate emergency, the cruise ship industry must act to demonstrate its commitment to a sustainable environment if it is to capture the social licence needed to operate in our city," reads the motion.

In total, the motion provides four recommendations to city council.

  1. That council direct staff to report back on the city’s jurisdiction on regulations for the cruise ship industry with respect to waste and emissions, and on the potential of requiring shore power by a particular date in order to significantly reduce and eventually eliminate the negative impact of waste, carbon emissions and particulate matter from the ships while they are in the City of Victoria.
  2. That council request that the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority publicly report to council on the recent study it commissioned which outlines the impact of cruise operations on the environment.
  3. That council request that the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority work more aggressively with the cruise ship industry to install shore power at Ogden Point.
  4. That council request that the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority not increase the number of cruise ships coming to Victoria, sign any long-term contracts, or consider home-porting cruise ships until the emissions and waste issues are dealt with to the satisfaction of the city’s Director of Engineering and Public Works.

The cruise ship motion will be tabled at next week's committee of the whole meeting, scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 17.

Greater Victoria’s Harbour Authority CEO Ian Robertson said the motion is concerning, adding that the GVHA wants to work with the City of Victoria collaboratively.

“I am disappointed because I believe that this motion is done without any fact and without any knowledge of the steps the cruise lines have taken,” said Robertson.

The GVHA is complying with all the regulations laid out by the International Maritime Organization and Transport Canada, he said.

Robertson said the new recommendations could have a big impact on the economy.

“The cruise industry is worth $130,000,000 to the Greater Victoria economy and it employs over 880 direct jobs,” he said. “I think about the small entrepreneur operators that rely on cruises to support their families.”