Created By: NRCan
Shoals are sandbanks, sandbars or gravel bars that are formed by ocean currents or streams depositing sediment and creating shallow areas. Such areas can pose hazards for navigation purposes. In Victoria harbour, these shallow areas prevented large ships from entering the inner Harbour. The wharves were built in 1883 to allow deep-sea ships to access the inner Harbour. Located near Shoal point, Rithet’s piers (Figure Xa) were built in 1883 as part of the sugar trade and for general export and import, establishing the area as a commercial and industrial hub. Shoal Point is home to the largest eelgrass beds in Victoria Harbour. Historically, eelgrass was abundant in the Harbour, but dredging, pollution and boat traffic have contributed to its decline. Eelgrass provides essential ecosystem functions, such as providing habitat for aquatic species, reducing wave energy and erosion during storms and filtering pollutants in the water while storing greenhouse gases.
Industrial and commercial buildings were located on this site including the Victoria Machinery Depot yards, located at Ogden point manufactured specialized equipment for the oil and gas industry, steamers and some of the first BC ferry vessels some of which are still in service today. However, the Ogden Point shipyard was closed in 1994. The Victoria Chemical company established in 1893 until 1917 when they were relocated. The plant manufactured acids, fertilizers and tree sprays. Industrial waste from these plants would likely have contributed to pollution in the outer part of the Harbour.
Much of this low-lying portion along the foreshore is prone to flooding and erosion from wave action in this active Harbour. Riprap has been added in the past to protect the point from erosion but with sea level rise, these areas will need to adapt to rising seas.
This point of interest is part of the tour: CZC Trip 1 Victoria Inner Harbour