|The ethos of our organization is to advocate for the best current and future working harbour possible. GVHA’s challenge as a steward of harbour properties is to preserve these places in good condition for future generations.
Our definition of a healthy working harbour in this century includes activities that operate without negative impact to water quality or marine ecosystems.
The need to operate our deep-sea and marina facilities alike in a green manner is driven by GVHA’s vision and mandate, along with the involvement of the wider community. Sustainability forms one of our guiding principles. With member agencies from cities and towns to neighborhood associations and First Nations, the citizen’s voice is predominant in our not-for-profit society.
Here are some of our methods.
Transportation – We encourage our employees to use less carbon-intensive means of transportation. This is usually a bicycle or a bus, but has even been a kayak at times.
Energy Conservation – Building lights and heat are turned off at night. The marina office has been moved to a more energy-efficient building. Shop lights have been changed to energy-efficient bulbs, and there is an overall move towards paperless office management.
Reduce, Re-use, Recycle – GVHA uses non-disposable dishes, and no longer use individual milk or creamers for coffee. Plastic, glass, paper and kitchen waste are recycled.
Water Quality – All GVHA marina facilities do not allow moorage clients to discharge sewage, as per regulation by Transport Canada. All live-aboard vessels must have working holding tanks. We operate a mobile pump-out service for no extra fee. In a six month period, our pump-out boat removed close to 14,000 gallons of black water from live-aboard vessels. Oily water separators with a high capacity service the central and western parts of parking lots and fuel tank footprints at Fisherman’s Wharf. All commercial restaurant businesses on the dock are required to have grease traps for water treatment prior to sewage discharge. GVHA is currently working towards a Clean Marine designation.
Recycling – Paper, plastics and glass are picked up through recycling programs. Solar-powered trash compactors are installed on the Inner Harbour causeway.
Fuel Dock – The underground tank system in our upgraded fueling station is state of the art, incorporating electronic leak detection and sophisticated containment technologies.
Dock Construction – GVHA incorporated maintenance-free dock and mooring systems that can be efficiently moved into the third phase of upgrading Fisherman’s Wharf. Recyclability and life cycle were all considered during the upgrade, making it the first of its kind in North America.
Ogden Point Initiatives
Water Quality – Potable water quality monitoring is conducted regularly. All analyses and reporting are performed by the Capital Regional District (CRD). Water is tested for coliforms, residual chlorine levels and turbidity.
Air Quality – Work is underway on a Clean Air and Noise Management Strategy to reduce air contaminants and mitigate noise from current and future cruise tourism operations. GVHA is funding the installation and site operations portion of an air quality monitoring station. The Erie Street station will deliver hourly readings of sulfur dioxide for a three-year period.
Recycling – Waste handling and recycling services are available for cruise ships calling at Ogden Point. Processing and recycling of oily water, sewage, paper, plastic, glass, metals and batteries as well as any hazardous wastes is performed by certified local environmental contractors. All cruise ship waste handling is performed in conjunction with certified environmental officers stationed on each ship.
Parking Lot – Catch basin collectors with small oil booms are installed at both Ogden Point and Fisherman’s Wharf as a first response to oil spills from cars and trucks. The collectors also prevent other large contaminants from getting into the drain systems. A spill kit in a rolling bin can be taken to bus spills at Ogden Point or any other GVHA parking lot. Vehicle oil spill and antifreeze kits are present in each GVHA vehicle.
We encourage our client businesses to operate in a sustainable manner, and work with them to help reduce their environmental footprint. Here are some of the initiatives being undertaken by our commercial clients.
Kelp Reef Adventures
Ocean Etiquette – Kayaking in small groups and using tandem kayaks whenever possible. Groups watch marine animals in their natural habitat from a respectful distance.
Education – The company promotes conservation and respect for marine wildlife.
Green Measures – Kayak operations create no fuel or noise pollution, and leave no trace on the ocean. Kelp Reef uses refillable water bottles and avoids plastic containers. Their dock and building is constructed entirely from locally milled cedar. Their Seaward kayaks and equipment are all built locally on Vancouver Island. Employees bicycle to work most days.
Waste Oil – Barb’s Place restaurant produces close to 12,000 litres of used canola oil in a year. The oil is picked up for use as bio-diesel fuel.
Ogden Point Café
Operations – The café uses biodegradable take-out bowls, lids and containers. Beverage take-out cups contain a minimum of 30 per cent post-consumer recycled fiber. Plastic lids are recyclable. The café offers a 25 cent discount to anyone bringing their own travel mug when ordering take-out beverages. Bottles, cans, paper, cardboard, plastic, tin and glass are recycled. The café fills thermos jugs with milk and cream for coffee and tea, rather than using tiny wasteful creamer and milk cups.
Office Practices – Envelopes for staff paycheques are re-used, saving more than 700 envelopes per year.
Noise Reduction – A sound screen is installed to reduce the noise emitted by reefer trucks. The trucks transport local fishermen’s catches to distribution plants.
Red Fish Blue Fish
Operations – This restaurant on the pier at the foot of Broughton Street has been 100 per cent Ocean Wise since its inception. Food stocks are locally purchased from Qualicum Bay and Fanny Bay. Compostable products are used, and customers eat using wooden cutlery that is later retrieved by Victoria waste recovery company ReFuse. The restaurant itself is housed in a recycled shipping container. The soil from a green roof on top helps to insulate the restaurant. Used canola oil sees new life as fuel in the company car.