After years of issues with derelict vessels moored in the waters of Brentwood Bay, the District of Central Saanich is still talking about how to deal with them.
In the short term, council will reach out to the band council of the Tsartlip First Nation to discuss working together to develop a management plan for the bay.
Council will also ask the provincial and federal governments for additional resources for the removal and disposal of derelict and abandoned vessels. A public meeting will also be held in the near future to gather feedback on points raised.
The issue of these vessels is one that Mayor Ryan Windsor calls complex with overlapping jurisdiction.
On Monday night, the District heard from residents voicing concerns and providing advice in hopes of finding a solution.
After reviewing a report from the Director of Planning and Building Services, Windsor said he understood that the municipality would have to develop a bylaw or strong framework before going to the province.
District Planner Bruce Greig said they need to clarify some steps and zero in on what the issues or problems are that they’re trying to solve.
Greig said the next step is to understand what others have tried and what the regulatory scheme appears to be, to develop regulations and have an idea of what they’d be asking for.
“The task before you is daunting. I really encourage you to proceed as quickly as possible,” said Brentwood Bay resident John Tidman after the staff presentation.
He said establishing a license of occupation in the bay is the way to go. That means a regulation created by the municipality to govern moorage in their jurisdictional waters.
“As Victoria proceeds to enforce the bylaw (in the Gorge Waterway) … all those boats that are there, they’re going to have to move … this is a timely decision,” Tidman said. “I think that if council takes the initiative to proceed with the license of occupation, you might be pleasantly surprised the kind of support you might enjoy from the community.”
Resident Jill Wake is concerned with sewage dumping in the Saanich Inlet, which Brentwood Bay is part of. She asked the District to ask the provincial and federal governments to enforce their holding tank rule, as most boats in the waters, she claimed, don’t have holding tanks.
“If they were to enforce their rule … and the boats are moved, then most of our problems disappear,” said Wake.
Windsor said that one thing the municipality would like to see is a public pump out facility or service.
Vice-Chair of the Saanich Inlet Protection Society, Michael Simmons said he agrees with having consultation as there is urgency on the issue.
“We’ve seen within the last month three, at least, of the boats that were kicked out of the Gorge by Victoria have moved into Brentwood Bay,” he said, adding that they aren’t the last they will see.
In the medium term, the District — after having gathered public input — will determine if the issue will be a municipal priority. If so, they will direct staff to prepare cost estimates for things like the development of new bylaws, a provincial license of occupation, new resources for communication and more.
The full report on Central Saanich’s derelict vessel plans can be found at centralsaanich.ca.
At a Glance
Central Saanich will pay up to $18,000 to remove two derelict vessels from Brentwood Bay. Council is expected to ratify the expenditure on Dec. 19.
• Number of boats observed moored in Brentwood Bay: 76
• Number of buoys: 111
• Buoys complying with Transport Canada standards: 50%
• Number of dinghies, canoes and kayaks at public beach access points: 35
• Number of dinghies observed moored at the municipal wharf: up to 20.
Observations gathered by Central Saanich Police Service and RCMP marine unit in the summer, 2016.