Central Saanich faced with derelict boat concerns

District dealing with too many layers of government on the issue.

Derelict vessels pose a huge problem on the Saanich Peninsula.

Letters of concern have been brought to the attention of the District of Central Saanich around the issue of derelict vessels on the Saanich Peninsula.

Concerns varied around parking, dinghies left on the wharf, bylaw issues and clarification around what’s legal. With reports of various events of sunken vessels, the most recent one was the report of a sunken vessel in Brentwood Bay. Patrick Robins, District of Central Saanich chief administrative officer, said he’s spoken with Central Saanich Police — who have been in contact with the Coast Guard and Transport Canada — to arrange a strategy to remove the sunken vessel.

“As you can appreciate, there are way too many levels of government involved and no single government seems to want to step up and take the leadership role,” said Robins.

Robins said there was another report of a vessel that was tied up at a local dock longer than 24 hours. He said bylaw enforcement has been on top of that, but when they went down to the dock, the vessel was removed and has now been moored at a buoy somewhere out in the Saanich Inlet.

The District’s single bylaw enforcement officer, he said, is aware of growing frustration within the community and has been spending time trying to manage the dock and having owners remove derelict vessels and dinghies.

“We’ve also talked … about a strategy [on dinghies], most commonly found at beach access points,” he said, adding the District hasn’t come up with a strategy yet, because of a lack of resources.

Staff are speaking with police on related parking issues as well.

“Council will recall though, unfortunately our bylaws don’t specifically reflect certain types of restrictions …” said Robins.

“So operationally, we’re trying our best with our small amount of resources and we’re working with other agencies to see if we can do some short term fixes that are obvious. That being the sunken vessel and the public wharf.”

A report will come back to council Dec. 12 on legal jurisdiction, roles of various agencies and more. Staff will also look at community feedback in the report.