This should be a no-brainer for our local councils. MP Sheila Malcolmson is asking for support for her private members bill to try to get rid of derelicts on the coast once and for all.
A boat owner comes along with a barely sea-worthy hulk and simply moors it and leaves — usually for good. These vessels then sit and rot out in the sun, wind and weather until they almost inevitably begin to leak fuel of some variety, break their moorings in a storm and eventually sink.
They then become hazards both for navigation and the environment. Far too often, taxpayers are left holding the bag for the clean-up costs. Tracking down the owners can be an exceptionally frustrating exercise, that may not yield any tangible results. And that’s usually after everyone’s paid for the Coast Guard to come out, often on several occasions, to inspect these shabby floaters and make sure they’re not leaking oil etc. It’s the equivalent of people driving old vehicles out into the woods and leaving them to rot away, only the water movement makes the environmental damage even worse — and nobody’s likely to hit the rusted out frame since the hypothetical car is off the roadway.
Cowichan Bay has had a real problem with this, as have Ladysmith, Maple Bay and Mill Bay. Several in Cowichan Bay have sunk over the years in rather spectacular and ignominious fashion. Remember the Beaver?
The federal government finally sat up and took notice with some legislation, but with only $1 million a year for derelict removals for the coast, it’s not even close to being enough. Then, as Malcolmson says, there are the necessary programs to deter people abandoning their derelicts in the first place.
What it comes down to is that we don’t want derelicts to continue to litter our coastline and threaten our environment. Malcolmson’s request for support comes without financial obligation or anything else besides saying for the record that we want to clean up our shores.
What’s to vote against?