The B.C. government and City of Victoria will exchange Crystal Garden and four properties for three city properties on Harbour Road, creating opportunities for new investment and job creation at Point Hope Maritime, Finance Minister Michael de Jong and Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin announced today.
The Province will sell the shipyard properties to the current leaseholder, the Ralmax Group, providing the necessary certainty for the new owner to continue investing heavily in the shipyard properties, expand its operations and create new high-paying, skilled-trade jobs. The Province will continue to invest in local infrastructure as part of its fiscal plan.
The four inner harbour properties given to the City are key to inner harbour revitalization and advancing a planned 5 km harbour pathway from Rock Bay to Ogden Point.
The marine industry is an important sector for the Capital Region economy, with the current operation at Point Hope Maritime employing approximately 150 people. With title to the land, 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. (UEL), and allow for strategic growth opportunities through LNG partnerships in northern B.C.
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.
Ralmax purchased the assets of Point Hope Shipyard in 2003, and after securing long term leases with the City of Victoria (to 2045), Ralmax agreed to reinvigorate the failed shipyard, renaming the ship repair and maintenance enterprise Point Hope Maritime. Ralmax purchased UEL in 2005 as part of an $18-million upgrade. By 2006, Point Hope Maritime tripled the shipyard's capacity and increased employee numbers to 150. Their investments included broad environmental upgrades, enabling Point Hope Maritime to achieve ISO Environmental and Safety Management certification, the highest international standards possible.
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.
Michael de Jong, Minister of Finance -
"This agreement between the Province, the City and Ralmax helps create new development opportunities for our marine industry, an important sector that offers high-paying, skilled-trade jobs in the region. Releasing these properties to the public and private sectors allows business to expand, grow and prosper, and contribute to the region's and the province's economic growth."
Ron Sam, Chief of the Songhees Nation -
"The harbour represents the Traditional Territory of the Lekwungen people - the ancestors of the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations - and for hundreds of years our health and wellbeing was tied directly to these waters. We have returned to the harbour with Salish Sea Industrial Services Ltd. to compete in the marketplace as equal partners, and to create meaningful wealth for our communities. The expansion of Point Hope Maritime is a catalyst for more opportunities and shared prosperity with our communities."
Andy Thomas, Chief of the Esquimalt Nation -
"Ralmax is an important business partner of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations. As Point Hope Maritime improves its business, we also benefit from increased opportunities for our communities to participate in the local economy. Linking Salish Sea Industrial Services Ltd. to the training program, apprenticeships and jobs is helping build confidence and trust in our young people. We are excited to be a part of the future expansion at Point Hope Maritime."
Dean Fortin, Mayor of Victoria -
"The benefits of this land exchange to our community are tremendous. 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."
Ian Maxwell, President and CEO, The Ralmax Group -
"The Province and the City deserve a lot of credit for these very 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. Ownership of the land 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."
Properties being transferred to the City of Victoria:
- Crystal Garden, 713 Douglas St.
- Ship Point, 814 Wharf St.
- Reeson Park, 1300 Wharf St.
- Quadra Park, 407 Belleville St.
- Belleville Green, 250 Belleville St.
Properties being transferred to the Province and acquired by Ralmax:
- Point Hope Shipyard, 203, 211, 335 (known as 327 and 345) Harbour Road.
Ministry of Finance
City of Victoria
Director, Communications and Civic Engagement