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Greater Victoria Harbour Authority putting $7 million into pier investments

Ogden Point to receive upgrades to accomodate even larger cruise ships
The load limit is 200,000 tonnes for each of these bollards recently installed at the Ogden Point terminal. Each came with a price tag of roughly $125,000 and is part of an estimated $7 million worth of infrastructure improvements being made by the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS

It’s a short, yellow concrete cylinder with two jutting arms that only stands three feet tall – but don’t let its size fool you: it can hold up to 200,000 tonnes.

It’s a bollard, a land anchor used to tie up cruise ships, and it costs about $125,000.

Recently the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority spent $500,000 adding four more bollards to their South A Pier at Ogden Point in order to accommodate the newest, and largest, vessel to grace our Island: the Norwegian Bliss. The vessel began visiting Victoria in June and brings in over 4,200 passengers and 1,500 crew members.

However, the entire ship only weighs 169,028 tonnes. The reason four bollards were needed? Angles.

“It has to do with the configuration of a ship, the size of a ship, making sure that the lines are tied up at angles that are appropriate for safe mooring,” said Lindsay Gaunt, director of cruise ship development at the GVHA. “It’s making sure that they are at the right locations and right sizes.”

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The expenditure on the bollards is a fraction of the $7 million investment GVHA is putting into infrastructure to allow even larger cruise ships to tie up in our waters.

Next year, the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship, by Royal Caribbean, will trump the Norwegian Bliss in size and capacity, bringing in 5,000 guests and 2,000 crew members. To accommodate that vessel, the GVHA is pouring over $6.5 million into a new dolphin moor, which will jut out 70 metres beyond what is already present at the South B Pier.

Gaunt said the funding comes from passenger fees, not taxpayer dollars, and that the investment will quickly be recouped.

ALSO READ: Record number of cruise ship passengers visit Victoria this year

“The economic benefit of cruises to the city, direct and indirect, in 2016 was $130 million,” she said. “Each individual ship brings in about $600,000 per day.”

This could vary from industrial costs, to harbour dues to taxes from retail and food and beverage purchases, Gaunt explained.

Construction on the new dolphin moor will begin in late October, and will be finished to welcome the Ovation of the Seas in April 2019.

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