Six pumpout stations unreasonable

Cowichan Bay – New bylaw regulations in Cowichan Bay target sewage discharge from liveaboard boats. Great, most boat owners seem happy.

However, each marina with liveaboards needs to arrange a pumpout system. Let’s visualize what that would look like. CVRD management has suggested each marina should have a pumpout station.

In its extreme, that would involve six pumpout stations with sewer lines running seaward from shore. Some lines would exceed 200 metres. Six pumpouts along with 6×200 m (1.2 kilometres) of sewer line is ridiculous. In our current weather, the contents of these lines would be frozen, and therefore, blocked. We currently have two pumpouts available in the bay. They are often unavailable or inaccessible.

Let’s explore a less ridiculous solution. The Nanaimo Harbour Authority has a floating barge immediately adjacent to their docks. I believe it is free, and very easily accessible to ALL boaters (resident and transient). The original cost of this barge was in the $25,000 range. The waste is then transported ashore. Victoria Harbour Authority uses a mobile pump out vessel. Other pumpout vessels exist (Humpty Dumpty and the Fecal Floater).

Another solution would be to install a pumpout station on the outside (unused) of the Fisherman’s Wharf floating breakwater. This would be easily accessible to ALL boaters (both resident and transient).

Non-mobile boats are already legally prohibited from discharging waste into the ocean. These people have readily available existing shore facilities at each marina.

The CVRD management team indicated that there were no funds available to implement these regulations. It seems ironic that we can afford a bird watching platform, a marine kayak park and a nature center – none of which seem to be used. I believe that the CVRD has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars conducting environmental water studies. Is something running amok here? We seem to have a lot of professional employees in the CVRD hierarchy. Can they be put to use finding workable and affordable solutions that achieve all of our desired goals? Six pumpout stations, each separated by 100 metres, could get us noticed in the Guinness book for some kind of record. At the very least, we could make Anderson Cooper’s (CNN) “Ridiculous List”.

Currie Ellis

Cowichan Bay