The Province of British Columbia is building a formal business case for the Belleville Terminal redevelopment project, which currently connects BC to Washington State, and is now opening up the project to seek out public input.
From Sept. 20 to Oct. 20, people can participate online by viewing info about the redevelopment project and filling out a questionnaire. An open house will also be hosted at the Victoria Conference Centre on Tuesday, Sept. 27 from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., where attendees can learn about the project from the project team, as well as complete the engagement questionnaire.
Owned by the province, the Belleville Terminal has connected Victoria to Washington State by ferries since 1924. In 2019, Belleville Terminal served an estimated 680,000 travelers, with 220,000 overnight visitors and sales of over 16,000 vacation packages for local businesses in Victoria.
Economically, the terminal also doubles as a gateway for international goods and services. It supports approximately 2,200 jobs, generating $57M in revenue for the Province, as well as millions in direct spending in BC. In 2019, an estimated $174M was spent in the Greater Victoria Area as a result of the terminal, with $164M in provincial gross domestic product (GDP) added as well. In 20 years, the terminal is projected to support 3,200 jobs and $257M in visit spending.
However, the existing terminal does not comply with the Canada-US Land, Rail, Marine, and Air Transport Preclearance Agreement (LRMA). That agreement was reached in 2019 and sought to expedite the flow of travel and trade via preclearance agreements between the two countries. Remaining uncompliant with the LRMA could result in the removal of US Customs services and a reduction or shutdown of existing operations, which could translate to losses for small businesses, industries, and even individuals who have jobs tied to Belleville Terminal.
The redevelopment proposal seeks to build a three-storey building, with some limited space for commercial opportunities; integrate various facilities, add vehicle and bus pick-up/drop-off space, and include eating and entertainment for terminal users.
The project would commence in two phases. Phase 1 would see the construction of a temporary terminal. In Phase 2, one of the existing buildings would be demolished, where the new building when then be constructed and integrated with the other existing buildings.
All in all, the entire project is expected to cost between $220- and $290M, with the Province of British Columbia seeking 50% of the funding from the Government of Canada.
If the redevelopment project is approved in Spring 2023, the new terminal could begin operating by late 2027.
Howard is a Staff Writer at STOREYS. He is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, and has also written about media for One Zero and international politics for WhoWhatWhy. Before STOREYS, he was also the Deputy Editor of 604 Now.