Duncan – North Cowichan should be commended for their strong action regarding moored boats and the mayor should not be apologizing for safeguarding the marine environment.
The romantic notion of mooring where you will dates from a previous century.
Just because “we’ve always done it” is not sufficient reason to continue.
In the same way that in the past, we painted boats with lead paint and then scraped it off into the sea, we now do things differently as we appreciate the complexity and sensitivity of our ocean ecosystems.
It is not a right to own a boat. Like any other major purchase from a home to a recreational vehicle, boats come with expenses and responsibilities. We would certainly not countenance people storing their RVs, no matter how well maintained, on public land or a regional park, and it is time we questioned the free storage of people’s boats on the waters of Maple Bay.
We need to ask how many, if any, boats should have permanent moorings in Maple Bay? Should liveaboards be a permitted use?
Should liability insurance be required to cover possible damage to other boats or property? How are Transport Canada regulations and bylaw infractions dealt with on the water? The proliferation of permanently moored boats is a problem in sheltered anchorages up and down the coast.
North Cowichan is leading the way by taking action on this issue.
I applaud the MBCA for urging greater protection of our bay. Maple Bay should not be reduced to being a storage facility for boats that other users like rowers, kayakers and sailors must wend their way through in the same way we do not expect hikers and mountain bikers to navigate through a forest of recreational vehicles.
It is not time to back off from marine environmental protection.