Construction is set to begin in White Bay this month, despite strong opposition from the local cruise community.

“It isn’t supported by the cruise passenger industry, it is inconvenient for passengers and the community doesn’t want it,” said Leichhardt Mayor Jamie Parker.

State Planning Minister Tony Kelly announced the approval for the new White Bay Cruise Passenger Terminal on February 3, claiming it would “minimise the impact on nearby residents and welcome visitors to our city with a first class cruise facility,” he was quoted as saying on website Inner West Courier.

The project will cost an estimated $57 million and include a new access road to the site, new cruise terminal facilities able to handle 170 ship visits a year, a long-term car park and function centres.

P&O Cruises Australia is one vocal protester to the development, with its CEO Ann Sherry saying the lack of amenities at White Bay and traffic congestion would create a poor passenger experience.

“Moving the cruise terminal to White Bay will push traffic, particularly during the morning peak, across one of the busiest roads in Sydney, which is already a car park in the mornings,” Ms Sherry said. “There is so much to see and do around Darling Harbour. In comparison, White Bay is bleak with no buzz or energy to encourage passengers to spend their time or money before getting onto the ship.”

Besides this, as cruise ships grow in size many cannot fit under the Harbour Bridge at all. When Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Spirit arrives in Australia in 2012, it will be too big to dock at White Bay.

What’s your opinion on the new White Bay Cruise Passenger Terminal in Balmain?