New Cruise Ship Terminal: Money up the Stack of a Pile Driver
Comment from J. Olson posted here for further comment, discussion
So now the public is informed that someone is spending $22.5 million tax payer dollars on a dock because the cruise ship industry does not like the operational costs associated with tendering ports where they have to use their own crew and life boats to ferry people back and forth to shore even though the industry admits that tendering ports offer a unique aesthetic experience for the tourist. Isn’t this a little like killing the goose that laid the golden egg? Would it not be better to capitalize on this travel experience? Why not build a floating Welcome Centre? Why not employ local folks to operate tendering services to the inner harbour? What is the special tourist experience about when getting on a bus in a dusty parking lot in the middle of an industrial wasteland?
And also, who invented the development plan for the assembly wharf lands that is illustrated in the video? Was a policy statement developed that informs the urban design decisions that must invariably be taken for this area? Was a master plan, transportation, land use, and sustainability plan created for this area? Was there a public consultation process? Was it advertised? Was the City of Nanaimo Planning Department consulted?
Is there any reality here other than money going up the stack of a pile driver while the local community tears its hair out over environmental impacts?
A unique concept like putting an offshore floating Welcome Centre in place is so far from the minds of the people making these decisions that it might as well be from a planet circling a different sun, in my opinion.
A local friend, retired from a lifetime career in the dredging business, questions reports on exactly how much dredging will have to be done to install this floating cruise ship dock. He says it will prove to be much more than is being reported, and he knows the bottom of Nanaimo’s harbour well. He’s tried to tell them, to no avail. (Sometimes it’s a wise idea to listen to the life experience of the guys in the hard hats and life jackets–but no, that didn’t happen.)
Could someone tell me again exactly who owns this vast wasteland onto which cruisers will be dropped? Will there be problems with a variety of owners, stakeholders, or interest groups? Of course, following precedent displayed at Maffeo-Sutton Park, even if it were currently covered by maintained lawns, one could expect that it would immediately be “de-grassed” and covered with concrete and pavers.
Not all the same fingers on the same triggers, but it seems to me that we’re about to be shot in the foot as we so famously already have been.
People are, in my opinion, entirely free to display idiocy publicly. I become concerned when it’s done with my money.
Wendy, a stab at answering your question re ownership of the Assembly Wharf lands… incomplete and hopefully others can fill in some detail. The Port Authority I understand is one of the owners (can someone confirm or correct that?) One major player is Canadian Pacific Railway which owns the Wellcox lands. The Snuneymuxw have a claim here I understand as part of their Treaty and Land Claims negotiations. As we’re seeing with the dock itself the Snuneymuxw will be a player here and elsewhere and it’s in all of our best interest that these negotiations be successfully concluded without delay. There must be other private owners. The site immediately south of Port Place at Esplanade was on the market recently.
Here’s a DN story from about a year ago:
This is not exactly a new project. It has been on the drawing board for quite sometime now. It will need 20+ ships (large) per year to be a success according to what was said at the NPA public meeting.
If Nanaimo can persuade about one ship a week to come here instead of Vancouver, that goal would be reached.
They claim each visit would inject about $200,000 into the local economy.
There is a whole lot of speculation surrounding this project and potential profitability, but at the end of the day the success really depends on the cruise ship business as a business. We on the other hand will have to give guests a damn good reason to choose us over Vancouver.
Now back to the food cart centre offering culinary delights from around the globe……. that should bring them in!!!
Does Nanaimo have enough to offer to take one ship a week away from Vancouver’s port authority, which will fight with every available resource to keep the ships coming into Vancouver? With all due respect to Nanaimo’s delights and those of the surrounding area, I don’t think so.
Does anyone have access or a signpost to the source of the creation of the $200,000 per visit potential revenue figure? From what base figures or raw data was that estimate derived?
Examples of “follow the money” or “show me the money”; and particularly “show me source of the numbers”–a question which will immediately have three bureaucrats dancing on the head of a pin.
If there are enough guests on a cruise ship who are not really impressed with visiting yet another huge city, but prefer the relaxed, warmer, laid back atmosphere that Nanaimo has to offer, the answer would be YES. Nanaimo can also compete with Vancouver on the head tax they charge the cruise ships to dock here.
As to how much money the average visitor actually spends, I would think that really depends upon what the port of call has to offer. If it is only coffee, nanaimo bars and a really good ice cream cone, it would be hard to see anyone spending the quoted average of $90.00 a head.
If however, some creative entrepreneurs were able to offer something truly unique and/or memorable, encouraging someone on vacation to part with $200 or $300 would not be out of the question either.
How much money actually gets spent, is not a function of the Port Authority, but is more likely in the hands of the local business types.
Now about, that world famous gastronomic delights being offered world travelers at the famous Downtown Nanaimo, Outdoor Food Faire Extraordinaire.
I realize that the amount of money spent by cruisers while in the City of Nanaimo is beyond the control of the Nanaimo Port Authority and lies within the control of creative entrepreneurs. However, I wonder if, with a cruise season of perhaps four months, those creative entrepreneurs could sustain year-round profitable businesses, or create enough revenue within about four months to sustain them year-round.
We’ve been told that onshore excursions are offered to Cathedral Grove and “the place with the goats.” That’s not money spent in Nanaimo. With the reported increase of the rare disease-spreading and potentially fatal spores infesting the bark of Cathedral Grove trees, I wonder how long it will be before a health authority at some level is forced to post warning signs. If that were to happen, I think it’s safe to believe that Cathedral Grove would be off the itinerary.
With the replacement of individual food vendors at Maffeo-Sutton with a centralized building for the sale of food, and with city council’s desire to see healthy foods offered, I wonder how many true gastronomic delights will be available to cruisers? I realize the two locations are virtually at opposite ends of what most of us consider to be “downtown”, but if city policy seems to be heading in the direction of elimination of street vendors of food and in the direction of making more “healthy choices” available in one area, will that not apply in another area?
Does anyone know where this figure of $200,000 revenue coming into Nanaimo originated? Who developed that figure and was first quoted as using it?
From my own observations, most visitors that arrive via cruise ships spend very little. Yes, they pay for excursions that are put together by the cruise ships although the amount put into local pockets is very small. The trips to Chemanius and Cathedral Grove are real money makers for the cruise ships and locally they might generate $250 total per bus load, plus what they might spend when they stop “where the goats are”. Two handi-dart vans are paid for by the Old City Quarter Association to promote business and are used to shuttle visitors to the Old City from downtown, but I rarely see the visitors going back to their ship with bags.
Yes, if you include the on shore excursions they might spend an average of $90 each. The walking tour is $29.95 a head and the bus tours start at $79.95 a head up to $129.95.
CRUISE SHIP TERMINAL LINK TO PDF FILES
Click to access Open_House%20_2010.pdf
Expect a Cruise Ship here this Saturday.
Celebrity Millennium is on a repositioning 10 night wine cruise leaving Vancouver Friday Sept 17th, stopping in Nanaimo on the 18th from 7am-5pm then off to Victoria, Seattle, San Francisco, Monterey, Catalina Island then San Diego.
When I first considered the possibility of a cruise ship dock it was as an alternative to the conference centre. I noted that a cruise ship dock would have about the same economic benefit as a conference centre, and it would be cheaper to build. And, it would not produce the economic drag brought about by locating the conference centre on Commercial Street.
The economic contribution of the Conference Centre is, and always will be, a net negative. A cruise ship terminal will be a net positive, if and only if, the cruise ship terminal does not diminish the capacity and other operations of the assembly wharf.
That said, the net positive effect is very slight. Strangely enough, because the conference centre project diluted the value of Nanaimo as a tourist product and diminished the capacity of our tourist industry the potential positive effect of the cruise ship terminal is even smaller today then before the conference centre. Its similar to pouring water into a shrinking glass.
Will the positive effect of the cruise ship terminal offset the negative effect of the conference centre? No. Will our economy continue to decline? Yes. Does a cruise ship dock matter one way or another? Probably not; however, if the dock reduces the capacity of the assembly wharf to produce, then the net effect will contribute to the decline of our economy.
I’m interested that there seems to be a degree of support for this project and the investment of such a large sum of public money in a single use tourism facility. I’d understand an investment in transportation infrastructure that numerous sectors would benefit from, including tourism. I’m not convinced it’s at all prudent but I would like to hear why people are in favour of it especially in a climate of strong opposition to City expenditures and concern about increases in taxation levels.
Frank, I would be curious to know what would be accomplished at this juncture by throwing spit balls at this project? No one in Nanaimo voted on it. The decisions have been made in far away places and I don’t recall anyone asking anyone’s opinion, do you?
As an afterthought on opposition to City expenditures and increasing taxes. I seriously doubt if anyone in the community or on city council or on city staff will do anything but to continue spending like drunken sailors on their favourite pet cow, be it sports centres, cruise ship terminals, convention centres, theatres and the like until the community finally hits the wall and there is simply no longer any funds to keep throwing around.
There is already a certain amount of hand wringing about the upcoming costs of infrastructure repairs, and in the next breath the blowing off of $80,000 for a bike lane to nowhere does not even get a second glance.
The usual suspects chuck and chew and vent a little, those in authority smile and nod and simply carry on as before, and the general population has not got clue one what is going on outside of what happened on American Idol last night.
And so it goes……
They can go ahead and spend and risk losing their positions as councilors and mayors. I noticed that the Non-profit money being given out this coming Monday has been greatly reduced and a lot of organizations have been given ZERO. If we give ZERO perhaps we can get ZERO in return.
Also this coming Monday is an information only submission by our economic development office on CITY FUNDING for the promotion of Destination Nanaimo for the Cruise Ship Terminal. Yep, more city money being planned to be spent for something we cannot afford. SAY NO TO ANY INCREASE IN TAXES. ZERO !!
J.Olson makes a good point that the rendering shows an attractive fully developed area with green space and landscaping and what looks like an interesting diversity of uses. Compare that to the sketch of the parking lot for tour buses in the pdf link that George posted in his comment. This project, like the Port Place Mall redevelopment before it, is proceeding without a Master Plan. The area was excluded from the parameters of the Downtown Design Guidelines planning document.
George: Thanks for pointing out the City Funding for promotion of the Cruise Ship Terminal that will come before Council on Monday. I note that it carries all the hallmarks of city special project spending in that it doles out initial seed money while providing no indication of the total kind of spending which is contemplated. It should at least be run all the way up the flagpole before we buy a ticket.
PS: Want to bet the the video will not be completed for the sum discussed?
Here is a link to an RFP issued by the City in December of last year, a transportation and land use study for the Assembly Wharf Lands with a budget of $100,000 awarded to EBA Engineering. The study is necessitated by the cruise ship dock proposal.
Click to access Assembly%20Wharf_CP%20Lands%20RFP%202%20(2).pdf
Also if you look at the July 22, 2010 City document “2011 -2015 Financial Plan Budget Priorities” you will find references to;
• Change made in 2010 Service Level increases – Assembly Wharf / CP Lands Comprehensive Plan (no amount indicated)
• Reasons for 2011 Tax increases-Remove one time funding for Assembly Wharf Study ($200,000)
• Budget Priority #8-Growth Management; Comprehensive Plan for the Assembly Wharf Lands
It would seem that considerable dollars have already been spent on the cruise ship facility
I just got around to watching the video of this facility found on this blogs front page. I was struck by the number of pictures of Chemainus, Cathedral Grove, Duncan, Port Alberni, whales, etc. which seemed to provide the tone that might catch some folks from the cruise ships. It would appear that Nanaimo’s usefulness will be in providing the jump off point and facilities which will serve those regional catchments. Given the kind of food available on the cruise ships, I fear that our restaurants (but maybe some innovative food carts) will be sufficient to keep many visitors in town. In other words, we get the schmutz, the region and the bus tours get the bucks. Good for the region, but who will end up paying for the off site infrastructure required.
Has anyone seen a complete business plan? Is this slipping by only without much scrutiny because too many of us believe that, because the primary money is coming from the Province, the Feds and the Port Authority, it is a gift to the city? A Trojan Horse, I fear.
The reason you see videos of Chemaninus, Catherdral Grove, Port Alberni and Duncan is because that is where the ship tours go. They bring the ships HUGE profits. The wine tours go down to the Maple Bay area $129 each. Chemaninus the Mural City is a huge draw $95 each, and Catherdral Grove is a must for any visitor at just $79 each and Port Alberni offers a unique Rail experience for $119 each. Locally we have a $29.95 walking tour of downtown. Profit is for the Cruise Lines, not the bus companies.
Sounds like there should be a wide open field in Nanaimo for some innovative, enterprising types to cash in, since there is nothing here now.
Has anyone ASKED tour customers what THEY would like to see or do, during a port stop? Honestly, are many cruise ship passengers going to part with any real bucks based on what is being offered now?
Ron, “Is this slipping by only without much scrutiny because too many of us believe that, because the primary money is coming from the Province, the Feds and the Port Authority, it is a gift to the city?” I share this concern. If we are vigilant about government spending and waste at the municipal level but don’t apply the same standard to projects paid for by our tax money that comes from the bigger pot, we’ve lost all credibility.
Before Nanaimo places too many Taxpayers dollars on Cruise Ships. Understand the demographics of the cruise ship industry.
They’re building them bigger with every possible way to sqeeze a dollar from the captive passengers. They have wittled down the package price attracting passengers with the lowest of incomes to fill the bigger and bigger ships. While I was under contract for two years in Bermuda which has been catering to the cruise ship industry since before the 1940’s. All the Bermudian Business owners say the passengers dont spend a dime anymore. When they have to eat they go back to the ship
its Free. They need a Drink back to the ship. Gambling, Show, Swim, back to the ship see the pattern. Even the trinket shop owners says I have everthing mark down to half price no ones buying. Get the picture.