Land Swap to Boost Victoria’s Economy

The mayor of Victoria says the recent land exchange agreement between the city and the provincial government will bring tremendous benefits to the community.

“This collaboration demonstrates a shared commitment to sustainable economic development in the Capital City, the future potential of several key properties in the Inner Harbour and results in an unprecedented economic investment in our vital marine industry,” Mayor Dean Fortin says.

The British Columbia government and City of Victoria will exchange Crystal Garden and four properties for three city properties on Harbour Road, which will create opportunities for new investment and job creation at Point Hope Maritime. Finance Minister Michael de Jong and Mayor Fortin announced the deal at a press conference held yesterday at Point Hope Maritime.

The Province will sell the shipyard properties to the current leaseholder, Ralmax Group, and will continue to invest in local infrastructure as part of its fiscal plan.

Ian Maxwell, president and CEO of the Ralmax Group says the province and the city deserve a lot of credit for the innovative land transactions as collectively they create immediate and tangible long-term benefits to the Capital Region.

“For us at Ralmax, the acquisition brings certainty, and allows us to make significant investments in site improvements that will increase efficiencies and capacity at the shipyard,” Maxwell says.

“Ownership of the land,” he adds, “not only strengthens our ability to impact positively the economic, social and environmental health of the community and the harbour, it makes possible more meaningful engagement with our neighbours that will help inform our expansion and site improvement plans. Point Hope Maritime can now focus its energy and resources on becoming a more appealing, interesting and strategic shipyard, and creating more family-sustaining jobs for the next generation.”

Expansion at Point Hope Maritime is expected to double the full-time workforce to approximately 300, and stimulate significant business development for shipyard suppliers and contractors. Point Hope Maritime currently works with approximately 800 local and provincial businesses, including Salish Sea Industrial Services Ltd., a company owned and operated by the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations in partnership with Ralmax. Expansion of Point Hope Maritime will provide greater economic, employment and training opportunities for the two Nations.

According to Maxwell, Ralmax intends to commence planning and investment in a new phase of upgrades across the site, including the addition of new spur lines and the removal and replacement of aging buildings. Ralmax will look to build a new, purpose-built metal-fabrication building at the south end of Harbour Road, which will secure the existing jobs at United Engineering Ltd. and allow for strategic growth opportunities through LNG partnerships in northern B.C.

On Feb. 17, 2014, the B.C. government introduced legislation to dissolve the Provincial Capital Commission. In November 2013 it was determined that government can do the commission’s work directly. At that time, the City of Victoria approached the Province and expressed interest in a collaborative exchange of lands with strategic economic development potential to the Capital Region. The provincial government is assuming responsibility for all commission properties.