Greg Wirtz, president of Cruise Lines International Association – North West and Canada, warns Vancouver may soon be unable to accommodate the growing tourism demand without investing in its facilities. He says Vancouver is lagging behind other cities, such as Seattle, that are investing heavily in their port infrastructure.
“We’ve kind of done the opposite in Vancouver. We’ve disinvested in facilities,” Wirtz said. The Port of Vancouver shut down the Ballantyne Pier to cruise ships in 2014, leaving Canada Place as the city’s only remaining cruise terminal. The closure has since exacerbated the congestion at Canada Place, Wirtz said. “Canada Place was built for ships of a generation ago,” Wirtz said.
In May, port officials in Seattle unveiled a $30 million renovation at the Bell Street Cruise Terminal at Pier 66. The expansion tripled the terminal’s square footage and was custom designed for the Norwegian Bliss, set to become the largest cruise ship on the West Coast in 2018. The Port of Seattle and Norwegian Cruise Line each shelled out $15 million for the renovation. Wirtz acknowledged the high cost of building a new facility but said tourism pours money back into Vancouver’s economy. Each cruise ship stimulates more than $2 million in economic activity, according to the Port of Vancouver.
Ships are getting too tall to sail under Lion’s Gate Bridge and too long for Canada Place, writes Aaron Saunders in The Province.
Source: CLIA North West and Canada