Will tourists be getting off cruise ships in Delta and checking out what the city has to offer in a few years?
That’s a question to once again ponder as the Port of Vancouver this week enthusiastically announced the start of the 2018 cruise season with the arrival of the first ship at the Canada Place terminal.
The port authority says approximately 895,000 cruise passengers on 241 vessel visits are expected in Vancouver this year, a seven per cent increase in passenger volume over 2017.
Vancouver cruise passenger volumes have been strong and steady over the past five years, with 2018 forecasting the highest passenger volumes since 2010, the port states. This year, the port is welcoming the Norwegian Bliss, which accommodates more than 4,000 passengers, the largest ship to date to come to Vancouver. Each cruise ship that docks at the Port of Vancouver contributes, on average, nearly $3 million to the local economy, the port adds.
In heavy competition with Seattle, the port has warned Canada Place won’t be able to accommodate the newer, much larger ships, and that those vessels would have a tough time navigating under the Lions Gate Bridge. The port last fall announced it was working with a consultant to look at the feasibility of a second terminal. The “pre-feasibility” study looked at Delta or Richmond as possible locations.
Port CEO and president Robin Silvester recently told the Optimist it’s still very early in the process of determining whether a second terminal will even be pursued and that there’s no set timeline.
“The preliminary study just shows that it might be feasible and it would be very expensive. We’re having some very early discussion with industry partners whether there’s any interest in it at all. It’s a long way off and very much a conceptual piece of work. It’s really at this stage looking at what options might there be and what sort of costs and possibilities there are,” he explained.
“It’s showing , as we know from Terminal 2 (proposed container terminal expansion), creating any new capacity is a long, complex , expensive process and we’re some significant way away from even starting that process…we’re really at the stage of asking whether there’s a business case for new capacity. If there was new capacity, it would most logically be outside the Burrard Inlet., but whether it’s Delta, whether it’s Richmond, whether it’s possible at all, those are questions are very much in the air at the moment.”