Poor weather conditions this winter have pushed back the opening of a multi-million-dollar marina.
The Victoria International Marina, located on the Songhees, was originally anticipated to open at the end of last month, but is now slated to open in July, according to Community Marine Concpets, Ltd.
“Weather has not been my friend. It has been a very difficult winter for many reasons — for winds in the strait, for snow, for cold, for rain. It has not cooperated. We’re a good two-and-a-half-months behind,” said Craig Norris, CEO of Community Marine Concepts, adding they also had to do some additional dredging at the site to remove more sediment recently.
“It’s been difficult, but thus is working on the water … it’s never easy.”
Most of the floats, which are being constructed in Vancouver for the $24-million marina, are expected to be in local waters by June. Once complete, the marina will include 28 slips for yachts 65 feet to 175 feet. Seven of the slips will be reserved for daily moorage, seven will be available for monthly lease, and another seven will be available for annual lease. The final seven slips will be reserved for long-term tenants with a 40-year lease.
The project also includes two buildings on lots next to the water. One building, which is roughly 1,700 square metres, will include a high-end restaurant. Norris remained tight-lipped about the new tenant, but hinted it’s a restaurant/coffee shop combo that is already operating in Victoria.
The other building, at roughly 1,900 square metres, will be for marina and club services. Part of the building will be leased as commercial space while another part will be available to the public to lease for gatherings and meetings.
It’s a project that’s long been in the works. Plans 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. 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.
Norris said the project will have positive economic impacts on the region, as yachts usually moor for three to four days before continuing up the coast. So far, the marina has caught the attention of sailing afficianados.
In 2018, the annual Melges24 Canadian Championship, one of the most prestigious regattas in the world, will take place at the marina. The regatta is expected to attract 60 to 80 entrants from around the world for the June 3 to 8 race and is expcted to have a roughly $1-million impact on the local economy.