Harbour authority eying prime waterfront property

The chair of the provincial government commission that owns Victoria's old Canadian Pacific Railway Steamship Terminal has said he understands the capital city's harbour authority is submitting a proposal related to that unoccupied building. The Provincial Capital Commission is in the midst of trying to find a tenant for the iconic 87-year-old terminal, which occupies a prime piece of waterfront real estate. But its chair Bill Wellburn said he doesn't known anything further about the harbour authority's proposal because he's excused himself from "all deliberations" about it. Mr. Wellburn said he did so because he also serves as the treasurer for the non-profit authority, which has operated Victoria's four port facilities since 2002.

For his own part, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority's chair Dermot Loughnane would neither confirm or deny news of the proposal. But, in asking how Public Eye found out about it, Mr. Loughnane colourfully joked, "I'm just trying to figure out who said something and has to be killed."

"Normally, I'm not too reluctant about coming forward. I usually tell everything I know and speculate. But, in this case, I think the best thing would be for me not to say anything unfortunately," he continued.

As for what the authority might want with the building, Mr. Loughnane said, "The harbour authority is all about the harbour and developing the harbour and we own a number of assets around the harbour and we're always looking to grow. We need an opportunity to diversify our income from beyond our mainly cruise-based model and we're continually looking at things that can augment that."

The capital commission began looking for a new tenant for the steamship terminal after it was vacated by the Royal London Wax Museum.

Three initial bids were turned down because the commission could not evaluate them "due to insufficient information."

The deadline to participate in the commission's second bidding process has been set for October 28.

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