A look at tourism opportunities for the Port Angeles and Victoria, B.C., areas

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Ribs in Canada in September and crab in Port Angeles in October.

That's the menu for a cross-border marketing effort pitched by a delegation of Esquimalt, B.C., officials who spoke in Port Angeles on Monday.

Esquimalt Mayor Barbara Desjardins presented Port Angeles Mayor Di Guilio with an Esquimalt flag to fly the week before the Canadian township's second annual Ribfest, which is set for Sept. 12-14.

“We will fly your flag in Esquimalt the week before CrabFest to get a lot of cross-the-water sharing,” Desjardins said, referring to the 13th Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival in Port Angeles from Oct. 10-12.

“Sounds great,” Di Guilio said.

Chamber meeting

Desjardins was among the speakers at a Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce luncheon that focused on tourism in Port Angeles and the greater Victoria area.

Ryan Malane, vice president of marketing for Black Ball Ferry Line, which operates the MV Coho serving both regions, said cross-border cooperation “is extremely important.”

“As you know, crab festival is one of those events that we get thousands of people from southern Vancouver Island down to visit us,” Malane told about 60 chamber members at the Port Angeles Red Lion Hotel.

“We have other events that are gaining popularity with the Canadian audience, and we certainly want to see that we're reciprocating.”

Esquimalt, roughly the size of Port Angeles, is located on the west side of Victoria Harbour bordering the provincial capital of Victoria.

“As you enter Victoria Harbour, we're that wonderful piece of land on the left-hand side,” said Desjardins, who had arrived minutes earlier on the MV Coho.

“This is my first time here, and I was thoroughly impressed already.”

The Esquimalt Ribfest drew about 15,000 attendees in its first year.

“We have a beer garden, and we have just a whole bunch of fun — music, dancing, kids are invited,” Desjardins said.

“We would like to extend the invitation to you, and we're hopeful that we can promote sort of a cross-the-water reciprocation.”

Earlier in the meeting, Malane outlined a shared marketing effort to promote the North Olympic Peninsula on Vancouver Island.

The second-year campaign, called “Get Off the Rock,” is supported by the Black Ball Ferry Line, Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau, Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce and Port Angeles Red Lion Hotel.

“If you were on the island, you'd definitely be seeing our message out there,” Malane said.

Sewage issue

After the luncheon, Desjardins addressed recent reports that the Esquimalt Township Council's refusal to rezone land for a $725 million sewage treatment plant at McLoughlin Point west of the Victoria Harbour entrance could delay a treatment facility for the 300,000-person Victoria region beyond its planned 2018 finish.

Two outfalls continue to push raw effluent from the Victoria area into the Strait of Juan de Fuca — directly across from the North Olympic Peninsula.

“We're all committed to moving forward with sewage treatment,” Desjardins said.

“We currently have decided that the McLoughlin site is not [an adequate] site, so communities are working on smaller models, more distributed models.”

Esquimalt officials will discuss options for sewage treatment in a meeting next week, Desjardins said.

“We're still committed to meeting the deadlines that are put in front of us by the federal government, which is 2020, and we feel that probably we can get something done earlier than that,” Desjardins said.

Dockside green

Esquimalt is holding a design competition for a mixed-use development that would incorporate sewage treatment processing, much like Victoria's Dockside Green, Desjardins said.

Dockside Green is a mixed-use development on a once-contaminated 15-acre site on Victoria's Inner Harbour that now supports green buildings and a biomass gasification plant where waste material is converted into synthetic fuel.

“Many of the municipalities are now looking at how do we do this, how do we create energy out of waste,” Desjardins said.

Esquimalt Councilwoman Meagan Brame added: “We want to be innovative, not old school.”

“People tend to think that we're against [sewage treatment], but we're not,” Brame said.

“We want to do it right. We want to do it well. And we want to be innovative.”

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: June 03. 2014 11:53AM
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