Across the harbor from Vancouver, city planners and private companies in North Vancouver and New Westminster are considering leasing cruise ships to augment hotel capacity during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Greg Peart, president of the tourism destination company The Deap Group, said the metropolitan area could need an extra 2,500 to 3,000 hotel rooms for the Feb.12-28 games.

“There is definitely a perceived shortage of hotel rooms in Vancouver,” Peart said. Two or three ships seem likely to meet the need.

The Deap Group has been in contact with almost every cruise line, Peart said, inquiring about capacity, cost and feasibility of chartering the ships, then renting berthing space from the cities, which have supported the plan.

“Nothing has been confirmed yet,” he said. “But it’s going to have to be soon.”

The company is going over logistics and traffic flow studies with various government agencies to ensure continuous embarkation and disembarkation of passengers does not overwhelm security at the berths, which normally would not see such traffic, Peart said.

A final decision on leasing the ships will likely come by mid-January, he said.