Monday, April 19, 2010

Victoria's Working Waterfront

I like our working waterfront (the part that doesn't primarily cater to visitors) so on Saturday I meandered down to Ogden Point to see up close the large derrick I could see in the distance from my building in Vic West. The derrick turned out to be mounted on a research ship of some type. The Commissionaire at the gate only knew that it was used for drilling in the ocean and that it was secretive enough not to allow Victoria longshoreman access to the ship. It was at the pier where cable laying ships frequently dock.

At the pier next to the Heliport another unusual ship was unloading its cargo… of yachts, apparently. This Singapore based ship sported giant cranes on its decks. From a distance they could have been monstrous praying mantises from another planet.

While I was at Ogden Point he termites were busy in the Inner Harbour. Since I don't read the papers or watch the news much I often miss out on their gatherings. It was while flipping through the channels that I caught an interview with Elizabeth May, with a swarm of plastic kayaks for backdrop. The busy little Green Party nabob is pretty much against anything that might increase our wealth. This in spite of the fact that she herself is from a prominent and wealthy American family.

Before going any further, I would like to mention how the Green Party began. Originally it was called the Alternate List, a squatters group supported by the East German secret police, Stasi. It's purpose was to destabilize the democratic government of West Berlin by mobilizing young activists to take over buildings still unoccupied after the war. Somewhere along the line the brain trust caught on to the potentialities of environmentalism to promote their vision of a world modelled on the dysfunctional socialist republics of Eastern Europe. Termites thrive in dunghills I suppose, and Eastern Europe under the communists was a typical socialist dunghill. The inhabitants of those countries are still trying to dig their way out many years after the communists were overthrown.

Oh, and by the way, one of the reasons Stasi was so effective was that they had a large pool of recently unemployed members of the Gestapo to draw upon. Thus the direct connection the Green Party has to the Nazis. Unemployed Gestapo- Stasi- the Alternate List- the Green Party. It must be in the DNA, as an early form of nature worship was one of the features of early Naziism.

The occasion for Ms May's presence was the kerfuffle manufactured by the media over a proposal to build a marina for luxury yachts along the Songhees waterfront. Who knows how far the kayakers had to drive to launch their props. Luxury Yachts, a howl went out, it can't be! Why, why, we all thought the waterfront was reserved for canoeists and kayakers and rowers, like us. How dare they clutter up our little playground! Don't they know that it is meant for our amusement?

The fact that it would create jobs and bring in offshore money to our local economy means nothing to them, judging by some of the comments expressed by 'stake holders.' The odd thing about socialists is that while they claim to represent the interests of the 'working man,' when an actual job comes in sight they act like Little Miss Muffets.

Ogden Point is one part of Victoria's working waterfront, the one where the larger, deep ocean ships have room to tie up. The Upper Harbour is where the fishing fleet, tugs, barges, and other smaller vessels operate. Not much was going on there Sunday but I took a few shots anyway. This is also where the Galloping Goose trail system has its Victoria beginnings. And isn't this the way it should be? Who has jurisdiction over Victoria's numerous waterfronts has been the subject of a lot of wrangling over the years between the feds, the province, and the city. What part of it should be commercial/industrial, how much residential, how much recreation. I think a mix is a good thing, but there has been a strong push to eliminate the unsightliness of cement plants, scrap metal recyclers, and marine related industries I think this would be very wrong. You can build houses pretty much anywhere on land, but you can't have shipping without water. And we are a maritime community. So I welcome the luxury yachts.

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