Friday, April 04, 2008

Nanaimo Cruise Ship Terminal Funding

The Province will invest $5 million to further develop a cruise ship facility in Nanaimo’s inner harbour that is expected to draw up to 50 cruise ship visits annually, Premier Gordon Campbell and Nanaimo-Parksville MLA Ron Cantelon announced today.
“There are tremendous opportunities for Nanaimo to tap into the cruise ship tourism market and create jobs and economic growth in the region,” said Campbell. “Right now cruise ships have to anchor in the harbour and tender passengers ashore. This investment brings Nanaimo closer to realizing the goal of converting the Assembly Wharf into a facility that will make the community an even more attractive destination for cruise ship lines.
2007 was a record-breaking season for cruise ship visits to Nanaimo as the port hosted calls by 15 large cruise ship visits and 21 pocket cruise ships, bringing 30,418 people ashore. On average, each spent between $80 and $100, injecting over $3 million into Nanaimo’s economy. Once complete, the upgrade is expected to generate between 30 and 50 cruise ship visits and up to $9 million in direct passenger spending in the community and the Central Vancouver Island region.
“This funding for a new cruise ship facility is another major step forward for Nanaimo’s community vision,” said Cantelon. “The port will draw more tourists, more economic activity and more jobs, benefiting not just Nanaimo, but the entire Central Island.”
The investment will help the Nanaimo Port Authority with plans to modify an existing cargo berth for use by cruise vessels and will include safety and security upgrades; dredging high spots; constructing customs and passenger processing facilities; building ship-to-pier gangways; constructing a roadway with coach, taxi and shuttle staging areas; modifying nearby warehouses to accommodate a craft market; and building a multi-purpose transportation centre.

“The proposed cruise ship terminal will dovetail very well with our ongoing revitalization of Nanaimo's downtown core through the Port of Nanaimo Centre Project with its Vancouver Island Conference Centre component,” said Nanaimo Mayor Gary Korpan. “We’re pleased that the Province has seen the enormous potential of the cruise ship terminal and made this investment today.”
The port has developed credibility, with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruise Lines including Nanaimo in their itineraries despite the port not having a large enough dock for ships to berth.
“Nanaimo’s reputation as a desired port-of-call for cruise ships is growing internationally with Princess Cruise Lines also making its inaugural call this fall,” said Ross Fraser, chair of the Nanaimo Port Authority. “This new facility will further built on that reputation, and help cement Nanaimo’s place as a centre for tourism here in the mid-Island.”

The project is expected to cost $18 million. The Nanaimo Port Authority is seeking $5 million in federal funding, and will match with $5 million. The NPA is also seeking $3 million from the Island Coastal Trust.


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