“In Victoria, if you had a place, they would come,” said Randy Cowley, who owns Venwest Yachts Inc. with his wife Maureen.It’s not unusual for yacht owners to have multiple slips reserved from Mexico to Canada, he said on Wednesday.
The planned $20-million, 48-berth marina at Songhees would serve the growing market for huge yachts, which are about 65 to 140 feet long, said developer Bob Evans. He is partnering with Alberta-based Western Asset Management Development Group to form Community Marine Concepts LP.
Evans said this would be Canada’s only marina dedicated exlusively to mega-yachts. Plans call for the marina to be open this time next year. “Everyone loves Victoria, and a marina would probably bring a lot more people in,” said Maureen Cowley.
Ship Point can accommodate large yachts, but it takes transient vessels for short periods only, said Paul Servos, Greater Victoria Harbour Authority CEO. “Evans is looking at a regular marina. We think it would be complimentary to our business. We don’t have any issues with it. … We are in the business of promoting harbour activity.”
Plans for a marina are part of the 1987 Songhees master agreement between the city of Victoria and province, which led to industrial land being converted into the residential and commercial development standing today.
Each slip would have a sanitary waste removal system, and yachts would use the fuelling station at Fisherman’s Wharf, Evans said. Electric golf carts would run along the wide floating concrete breakwater to serve the yachts. A bridge would allow small craft, such as kayaks, near shore.
“The key thing is, it adds interest and activity of a very high-quality nature,” Evans said.
Marine submitted a development permit application to the city of Victoria last week for approval to build two buildings on pilings at Songhees. These applications normally take about eight weeks to come before council, although some take longer.
The firm already owns the two water lots where marina buildings such as offices, a restaurant, coffee shop and interpretive centre would be located. In 1993, those lots were downzoned to one-storey commercial use by the city.