Monday, April 27, 2009

Who’s Harbour is it?

The Harbour should belong to all the citizens of Greater Victoria.

The chairman of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, Don Prittie has made some public comments supporting the proposed marina on the Inner Harbour. He was quoted as saying "I have no doubt that there is going to be significant economic spinoff for the region."

The development has run into opposition from Songhees residents who complain their waterfront views will be spoiled, kayakers who feel it will interfere with their access to the water and others who suggest that the addition of the big yachts will compromise safety in the harbour.

The problem with this whole issue is that the Harbour is an asset of the region. As pointed out by Don Prittie the whole region may benefit. Perhaps the region will be negatively affected. Either way, it is all of us in Greater Victoria who will be impacted by any use of the inner harbour and it should be all of us who have a say, through our government on what happens.

I appreciate that there will always be additional issues when it comes to the ocean, which may require Federal of Provincial involvement, but the people in Saanich have just as much concern about the harbour as those in Victoria. It is likely the people in Oak Bay who want to kayak in the harbour. Perhaps someone living in North Saanich wants to moor a yacht there.

Why do we have a Greater Victoria Harbour Authority anyway? If this were one city, at least in the core area, could not the city manage this asset for the benefit of us all?

Do you not think good government for our region would mean that we all elect the people who make the decisions about such an important area of our region? As I live in Saanich, my counsellors have no say in what goes on in the harbour. That is simply wrong. The harbour belongs to us all, as do all the regional assets we enjoy, regardless of what municipality we live in.

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