Esquimalt voted to add more legislation for docks in the Gorge. (Black Press Media file photo)

Esquimalt adds more legislation for private docks in its waterways

More than 30 docks had been put into the Gorge Waterway without proper zoning

The Township of Esquimalt will put proper legislation in place to make sure that docks put out into the Gorge Waterway are properly licensed.

Concerns had been brought forth about regulations and liabilities for unlicensed docks on private land and public land after it was discovered that 28 docks on private land did not have proper zoning, while 10 docks on public land did not have proper zoning.

In a council meeting on Monday, councillors heard staff recommendations for the docks, following lengthy discussions in January.

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“My concern is not with the docks, it’s with it being on Township land without having explored some legal or liability risks,” said Coun. Jacob Helliwell at a committee of the whole meeting in January.

Coun. Tim Morrison raised concerns about proper taxing.

“Docks on public properties… they don’t belong to anyone with land or land value, which is unfair because they have private use of that dock, but are not necessarily paying their fair share of property taxes,” Morrison said.

Ultimately council voted to follow the example of View Royal and grandfather all currently-existing docks on private land, as long as the docks keep their current size and configuration, and that they are properly maintained in a safe condition.

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Docks on public property were also grandfathered under the same limitations, with the caveat that all owners must enter into an agreement with the Township by way of a “License of Use and Occupation,” which includes a $300 fee and an assumption of liability.

Any new docks will need to meet municipal, provincial and federal requirements.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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