Construction set to begin on international marina

After nearly eight years, a high-end marina for luxury yachts will soon be floating its way into Victoria’s harbour.

After nearly eight years, a high-end marina for luxury yachts will soon be floating its way into Victoria’s harbour.

Construction is set to begin in August on the Victoria International Marina project, located in front of Songhees in the harbour. As part of the $24-million project, Community Marine Concepts Ltd. will be creating 28 slips for yachts 65 feet to 150 feet long.

The project will also include two buildings on two lots next to the water, which will house amenities. One building, which is roughly 1,700 square metres, will include a high-end restaurant run by a local restauranteur, while the other building, at roughly 1,900 square metres, will be marina and club services, which could take the form of a spa, and another service that has not yet been determined. Both the restaurant and the spa will be open to locals as well.

Plans for the project were originally unveiled in 2008, however, critics worried about its size, location, impact on safety in the busy harbour and that the massive yachts would obstruct people’s views of the harbour.

Since then, the marina has changed the design and size several times to comply with changing federal, provincial and municipal regulations, along with feedback from community groups and First Nations representatives.

“I want to see this occupied, I want to see people using it. There’s been so much planning, it’s been thought and rethought. There’s been some naysayers, but I don’t even hear them anymore,” said Craig Norris, CEO of Community Marine Concepts. “We just can’t wait to get it built. We’re very excited.”

Norris added the marina will likely see most use in the spring and summer months, with most yachts only staying three or four days before they move up the coast to other marinas. However, the economic impact will be significant.

According to a study done in New Zealand, the economic impact of 37 super yachts was $40 million on the region, with international yachters spending money on things related to helicopters, culture and entertainment, hotels and taxis, beauty, sports, recreation and personal shopping.

“The average yacht is about mid size that comes into (the harbour) is going to generate, every time they stop in for about a week is about $20,000. It’s significant,” Norris said, estimating 28 slips that turnover roughly 185 visits in a year, could generate $260 million in economic impact for Victoria. “It’s international tourism at a high level.”

Construction for the first building begins the second week of August. The marina is expected to be complete by March 31, 2017.