Divers for Soliton Commercial Divers prepare to evaluate and raise a derelict boat that was part of the most recent removal of abandoned vessels in Sooke harbour. (Tim Collins/Sooke News Mirror)

Five more derelict boats pulled from Sooke waters

Funding is key in removing dead vessels

John Roe and the Dead Boats Society were back in Sooke on Thursday to remove five boats abandoned in the harbour.

“These are boats that were inventoried almost three years ago, and now we’re finally able to come and take them out,” Roe said.

The non-profit Dead Boats Society works in conjunction with the Capital Regional District, the federal government and a local partner, Salish Sea Industrial Services, to do the removals, but funding is always a problem.

RELATED: Spring removal took seven boats out of the water

Twenty-five per cent of the cost of removal is covered by the CRD with the remaining 75 per cent covered by the federal government. But federal funding is limited.

In July, the federal government announced $1.27 million would be provided to four organizations in B.C. to assist in the removal of 34 vessels.

But that amount doesn’t come close to dealing with all the abandoned boat in the region, Roe said.

RELATED: More funding means more boats removed

And the recently passed Bill C-64, entitled the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act, which came into effect in July, will have little impact as a source of funding for the removal of derelict boats, despite the best intentions of the federal government, Roe said.

“(The act) will enable us to better protect our coastlines by requiring responsible vessel management and prohibiting vessel abandonment,” said Transport Minister Marc Garneau at a March 6 press conference.

The plan, Garneau said, would hold the identified owners of abandoned boats responsible for the cleanup cost.

But there’s the rub.

Roe said it’s nearly impossible to identify the owners of abandoned boats since, unlike motor vehicles, owners are not required to register the craft with an easily identifiable serial number.

“I’ve removed about 250 boats since I started doing this in 1994 and of those I’m thinking we were able to identify four owners,” Roe said.

“I remember how one guy gave me $1,000 toward what was a $20,000 job. There was nothing we could do at the time.”

The process of removing boats has become more complicated and expensive as well.

That complexity was highlighted by Ryan Bosley of Soliton Diving, who was on hand in Cooper’s Cove preparing one sailboat for removal.

“We have to send divers down to check it out before we attach floats so we can get it up and be able to load it on a barge. It’s quite a job.”

Roe recalled how in the 1990s it was just a matter of getting the boats ashore on a tarp and cutting them up with saws and chainsaws.

“Now we barge them over to the Point Hope Shipyard where they have to be divided into industrial and hazardous waste as well as simple garbage for disposal,” he said.

“You wouldn’t believe the things we find in these boats, and it can’t just go in a landfill.”

With the removal of the five boats this week, Roe said that he doesn’t anticipate being back in the Sooke area again until November.

“It’s really a matter of hurry up and wait now, as we wait for more funding,” Roe said.

“There are still a lot of boats out there that have to be taken out. We won’t run out of projects, that’s certain.”



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Greater Victoria sees unemployment rise in November

Unemployment rate jumps to 3.5 per cent from 3.2 per cent

Lead Island Health doctor backs Saanich push to lower provincial speed limits

Chief Medical Health Officer backs the bid to drop residential speed limits to 40 km/h

Fireballs fall Friday as brightest meteor shower of the year fills the skies

Geminid meteor shower features colourful, brighter, longer shooting stars

North Saanich Fire Department wins national Movember challenge

Team raises more than urban Edmonton, Toronto firefighters

Province launches lawsuit over Esquimalt sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after being dropped from marine lift in 2018

VIDEO: Kenney lays out key demands for meeting with Trudeau

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aims for clear signs of federal action on two-day Ottawa trip

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Cougar destroyed in Penticton area after mauling dog, killing cat

This is the first reported incident with a cougar this year in the Penticton area

Feds not enforcing standards on Hungarian duck imports, B.C. farmer says

‘You have no way of knowing what’s in the bag’

No reports yet of Canadians affected by New Zealand volcano eruption, feds say

Missing and injured included tourists from the U.S., China, Australia, Britain and Malaysia

Vancouver Island blues musician’s mother’s home burglarized and ransacked

David Gogo’s 71-year-old mother has jewelry and artwork stolen in break-in

Dance cancelled after Alberta teacher’s climate lesson prompts online threats

School district near Red Deer cancelled annual family dance due to Facebook comments

Most Read