Skip to content

Cruise industry facts need closer inspection

James Bay resident has studied various aspects of cruise industry

Re: Cruise-related traffic plan gets closer look (News, Jan. 3)

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority recently launched some numbers about the economic impact of cruise tourism in the Capital Region. These numbers are exaggerated, seriously misleading and based on inherently faulty and incomplete analysis.

The GVHA includes $6.2 million in work attributed to the Esquimalt Graving Dock, a unique facility whose occasional work on cruise ship retrofits has nothing to do with cruise ship arrivals at Ogden Point. The report of crew expenditures is exaggerated, not firmly based upon local data and probably not based on random sampling.

The authority also uses a discredited “multiplier approach” to double up economic impacts. One cannot multiply up local expenditures using factors based upon a provincial input-output model, then call those numbers local benefits, because spill-overs of local activity largely percolate outside the local economy.

Most importantly, GVHA fails to offset economic impacts with economic, social and environmental costs. These costs are large.

There are many James Bay residents who experience more than 120 large, antiquated, highway-sized buses passing their homes throughout the summer on three-cruise ship evenings, along with an additional 1,000 other vehicles. This has continued for several years without redress, undermining quiet hours, human health, property values and street surfaces in the process.

It is long overdue for GVHA to limit the number of cruise ship calls, shift the cruise ship schedule more into the daytime, modernize and diversify transportation modes and focus on quality, not quantity.

Brian Scarfe