Questions with Victoria's Environmental Change

Photo: Greater Victoria Harbour Authority

The people of Victoria, British Columbia's capital city and a regular port for cruise ships going to and from Alaska, are choked. Or maybe that should be "choking."

Here, point by point, is why:

• The city scrapped plans to install shore power (electrical plug-ins) to improve air quality from visiting cruise ships.

• The reasoning for the $9-million decision was that stricter environmental rules would do the job.

• Residents have long complained about emissions from not just ships but also buses and related shuttle vehicles that service passengers.

• The 'scrubbers" that ships are using to meet environmental standards won't be in place until sometime in 2016.

• Between now and then, residents want to allow only one ship without a scrubber to be in port at any one time.

All of this raises at least a few questions:

1. If Canada's busiest cruise port is right, that scrubbers will eliminate the need for shore power to meet environmental regulations, then why did "neighboring" cities like Seattle and Vancouver install them?

2. Do residents really think schedules can be adjusted so that only one non-scrubber ship is in port at once without alienating the cruise lines that stop there?

3. Whether it's shore power or scrubbers, neither will address air-quality complaints from the exhaust of buses, shuttles and taxis.

4. Does Victoria have a bigger decision to make, about whether it wants to be a cruise port or not?

This year, there are 207 cruise-ships visits scheduled for Victoria.

Today at Phil Reimer's A photo essay about cruising

Norwegian Breakaway
7 nights
June 15, 2014
New York (return): King’s Wharf
Inside: $499
Cost per day: $71

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