So tonight I headed down to the City hall and listened to the discussion about the marina project in esquimalt. After what I heard tonight, I am left with rather mixed feelings about this project: on one hand, I am delighted that we're entertaining new marina development. On the other, this project has no value for me and seems to hurt locals in the name of tourism. I'm certain that this development has already been fully green-lighted and it's like on a fast track for marketing material to hand out at the Olympics.



As a brief overview, the meeting, packed to the ceiling with people, began with Denise Savoie making some fairly strong political statements about her biases and then Slick, one of the reps for the project and also the worst public speaker in the universe, proceeded to a delightful PR laden, brainwashing Powerpoint presentation. Conspicuously missing were the developer himself and a representative from Transport Canada. Like most unexciting and banal powerpoints, it went on and on and on and eventually the rep was cut off (thank god). The rest of the night was people putting their words into a microphone with no meaningful public response, broken only by a girl who budged in line and yelled a number of undecipherable phrases about the marina not being sustainable and then stormed out the room on a wave of boos. Overall..I feel government work was done.



So what's my beef with the marina as presented? I mean I do like fun, right? My problem is that it's not for me. Plain and simple. It's for them, it's change, and I don't like it :D . I could go one for hours how I think it's a poor design with terrible access, insufficient depths, and close proximity to aircraft engines that needs an entire basin dredged over a 2 year period, basically needs the entire traffic scheme changed to accommodate it, may or may not be ecologically sound, no experts seem to agree on the parameters, no government oversight of the waterway, fucks paddlers sideways etc etc etc yada yada yada. but when it comes down to it, it offers no value to me and, in-fact, subtracts value.



And this is the problem with change. This project has been on the books since the late 1980s. It's been looming, it's been dormant, but now here it is. This fine project is going to adorn the west bay and north shore and there isn't a damned thing we can do about it. This project is about servicing a small niche of boat owners that are ridiculously wealthy, on top of the world and ready to bring our economy some love. As long as you keep the blinders on and keep watching Slick's little powerpoint, I mean what could be better. I'd love to have a swinging hot tub party on my private mega yacht. But I won't, and neither will I'm guessing...uh.. most of the human population.



As Victoria famously does, it takes the needs of tourists and makes it paramount to the functioning of the world. In this model, you take a beautiful walking space, a rocky park, a scenic viewpoint and you replace it with development that bleeds out rich patrons ( a little after the Olympics :P ). In this case we're being double screwed, because the provincial government is in on it. Normally, a developer has a couple of lots of land on shore - cool! make a nice little pub with a huge patio. But in this situation, Victoria has agreed that this makes them money (potentially), so let's rework the entire harbour access scheme and give them some water while we're at it!



So here's how change is going to affect me. I no longer have access to the rocky shores of the north shore, instead I'll get a beautiful view of concrete, screws hinges, sewer and gas lines and a pool of bottom paint infused water to paddle through (until there's an incident with a 30 million dollar boat and a kayak). If I don't want to paddle through the marina - I can go around it! Well.. no.. the airplanes taxi out through there - but they might not, but they might. Tell me how this benefits me in any possible way?



I'd be a lot more fond of a project like this if it stored normal people boats, wasn't a giant nuisance to navigate for those of the paddling persuasion and somehow benefited the local population by not slapping concrete all over the shores. Change is coming like it or not. Like one of the public said today - all marinas are a work in progress. If they can't make a mega yacht marina work, then maybe my little dream will come true - a smaller marina and happy Kayakers.