Executive Committee

Lyle Soetaert, President
Nick Banks, Vice-President
Nathan Bird, Secretary
Ryan Burles, Treasurer

GVHA Directors

VEHS has two seats on the Board of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority. VEHS representatives to the GVHA Board are elected by the VEHS members and must be members in good standing of VEHS.

Ryan Burles (Black Ball Transport)
Mark Mawhinney (Odlum Brown)

Meet the Directors

Lyle Soetaert

VEHS President

Member Category: Industry and Commerce
Profession: Pacific Seaplanes

Lyle graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting and Finance.  Instead of entering the world of finance as intended, he chose to join the Canadian Military and served as a pilot.  This career took him to three continents over a span of almost twenty years in numerous leadership roles specializing in operations and safety.

Returning to Canada and Victoria, he worked for several years as an Operations and Safety Manager with Victoria’s two main floatplane companies.  When opportunity arose on the mainland, he became the Airport Manager at the Boundary Bay Airport. He has worked as a Financial Advisor and now consults on aviation and marine safety.

Lyle has served in numerous voluntary roles over the years including past President of the Victoria Esquimalt Harbour Society and is currently President of The Union Club of British Columbia.

Nick Banks

Vice President
Membership Committee Chair

Member Category: Marinas, Floathomes, Liveaboards
Profession: Partner, Hidden Harbour Marina; Small Boat Fleet Manager, Prince of Whales Whale-Watching

Nick has been enjoying our local waters for more than fifty years. When not working on and around the harbour he can be found out fishing or racing high velocity sailboats in events such as Swiftsure and the Van Isle 360, a point-to-point race around Vancouver Island. Nick has also accumulated many offshore miles racing and delivering yachts up and down both coasts of North America.

Born and raised in Victoria, Nick went from building boats in the summers while attending the University of Calgary, to embarking on a successful business career in the oil and gas pipeline construction industry, returning back to Victoria in 1988. After becoming a partner in Hidden Harbour Marine Centre, a purpose-built marina in West Bay Esquimalt where Nick ran the marine retail department for six years, he went on to acquire his real-estate license that he still maintains at Century 21 Queenswood, a local boutique office in Cadboro Bay.

Nick has served three years as one of two Victoria Esquimalt Harbour Society (VEHS) representatives on the board of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA), six years on the board of the Maritime Museum and eight years as an executive member of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club. For the past thirty years he has been the Harbourmaster for the annual Victoria Classic Boat Festival. Nick is currently the small boat fleet manager at Prince of Whales whale watching, a position he has held for the past five years.

Ryan Burles


Member Category: Marine Transportation
Profession: President & COO, Black Ball Ferry Line

Ryan started working for Black Ball Ferry Line in 1981, working the docks as a part-time Traffic Director while completing his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education. After graduating from University of Victoria he joined the Company’s Victoria Management team.

  • Member of VEHS since its inception 1994.
  • VEHS Board Member and Treasurer 2015 – Present
  • VEHS representative Member on Greater Victoria Harbour Authority 2016 – Present
  • Destination Greater Victoria Transportation Committee Member 2008 – Present
  • Board of Director of Victoria Chamber of Commerce 2013 – 2014
  • Rotary Club of Victoria 2007 – 2016

Nathan Bird


Member Category:  Marine Tourism
Profession:  General Manager, Eagle Wing Tours

Nathan Bird has been working in the tourism industry in Victoria for the past 33 years. For the past four years, he has been in adventure tourism with one of Canada’s leading tour operators, Eagle Wing Tours as Director of Operations and present role as General Manager.

Prior to this, Nathan spent over six years working in the hotel industry, with Fairmont Empress as his last property. Nathan has worked in several departments within hotels, but mainly in operations. Prior to this, Nathan spent 20+ years in a street vending operation at Ship Point Pier, Victoria, BC. Nathan has studied locally at Camosun College and Royal Roads University in their Tourism Management Programs.

Nathan’s passion is developing processes, people, business, driving business results, and employee engagement. He believes strongly in training people and leading by example for each company to be the best we can; in addition to providing a superior experience to all visitors to the destination.

Christine Clarke

Governance Committee Chair

Appointed Seat: Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce
Profession: CEO, Songhees Development Corporation

Christina Clarke began her career with Songhees Nation in 1995 and has served as Executive Director, Senior Finance Officer and Tax Administrator before transitioning to lead the Nation’s economic development activities.

Currently, Songhees Nation has 10 active business ventures and partnerships including tourismand hospitality, marine industrial services, property development and cannabis retail, eachpoised for growth.

Christina serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce and the Victoria Esquimalt Harbour Society and previously served on the Board of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and the South Island Prosperity Partnership.

Jordan Welch

Membership Committee

Member Category: Member at Large
Profession: General Manager, Victoria Cruise Ship & Deep Water Terminal, Western Stevedoring

Jordan has spent his nearly 30 year career in the BC marine industry in positions involving ship’s agency, shipping line operations and commercial management, brokerage, and shipboard operations management.  Jordan took on his current position at the end of 2019 and is pleased to be part of the local marine industry.

The mandate of the VEHS to support and strengthen our working harbours is of keen interest to Jordan, as he sees the potential of the wide range of stakeholders working together.  He looks forward to working with all Members to pursue the Society’s objectives.

Leslie Welsh

Communications Director and Privacy Officer

Member Category: Environment
Profession: Principal, Environment & Energy Consultancy

Leslie completed degrees in physics and atmospheric physics, serving 33 years with Environment Canada as a forecasting and research meteorologist in locations across Canada, then later as an environmental regulator of the energy industry. He developed the first green power procurement program, in which he initiated the first federally-certified greenhouse gas emissions reductions trade in Canada. He moved to Victoria in 2014, retiring to a consultancy. He joined VEHS in 2015 as a result of a love of harbours arising from his upbringing in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and having become a recreational sailor (mainly in the Greek Islands). He monitors Victoria’s endlessly fascinating harbour from his home over the inner harbour.