LETTER: Increased cruise ship traffic taking toll on James Bay

Cruise ship numbers have increased from 34 with 40,000 passengers in 1999 to the all-time high of 350 with 780,000 passengers in 2022.

James Bay residents and our marine life bear the burden of most, if not all, of the noise, green gas emissions and large volumes of acidic wastewater from the cruise ship industry. They sail along B.C.’s west coast for two or three days leaving behind a trail of toxic waste. Billions of litres of sewage, sulphur/nitrogen oxide gases, and heavy bunker oil create a lethal cocktail of chemicals which are dumped into the ocean, ergo the “toilet bowl” label for Victoria by The Guardian Newsletter.

These cruise ships only dock in Victoria for a few hours upon their return to Seattle, and while moored James Bay residents are subjected to increased noise/pollution levels that far exceed World Health guidelines. “Rush hour” passenger traffic from multiple taxi cabs and huge highway double-decker buses continue to circle Dallas Road, at times less than 25 per cent full, blanketing the community with vehicle/cruise ship emissions until 11:30 at night. This ever-increasing level of tourism more than doubles transportation noise/pollution each day over the six-month cruise season. The negative impact for taxpayers is eventual higher health care costs and the damages associated with ignoring sustainable climate protection measures.

A 2019 report found that cruise ship passengers accounted for 12 per cent of tourist visitors to the city, but they spent less than two per cent of tourism dollars. Non-cruise tourism created 30 times more jobs in Greater Victoria than cruise tourism while generating 20 times more tax dollars than cruise operations.

Over the past 10 years, James Bay constituents have submitted well-researched reports ( and ) to the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority. These documents request very clear actions for real change to affect quality-of-life improvements for residents and marine inhabitants due to the intolerable strain that this level of tourism has imposed on our small community. To date, very few, if any, of these recommendations have been implemented.

Elizabeth Kozak



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