Evictions had good intentions, poor execution

Just because they went about it the wrong way, doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for action.

Last week, North Cowichan council rescinded eviction orders that had been delivered in July to a plethora of boats and float homes moored outside marinas in Maple Bay.

The evictions were heavyhanded, to say the least, and boat owners were irate that their vessels had been boarded while many of them were not there, and notices left that gave them mere days to vacate the area.

But the spirit of the thing is something pretty much everyone agrees is needed.

The move by the Municipality of North Cowichan was an effort to try to address the ongoing problem of derelict vessels mooring off the Cowichan Valley coastline.

These vessels are environmental and navigational hazards as they decay in place, pull free and drift during storms, and sometimes sink.

They’re also unwanted and unsightly in areas where the beauty and views are selling points.

Wrangling over who is responsible for policing these vessels and getting rid of them when necessary has led to the ships sitting in our harbours for months, sometimes years, without action.

Nanaimo-Cowichan Member of Parliament Jean Crowder is working on a federal bill to try to help, but the wheels are turning slowly in Ottawa.

So we applaud North Cowichan for trying to finally do something immediate about the problem, even though the result wasn’t what anybody wanted.

And we hope they continue to move ahead with trying to come up with some regulations that will make our harbours a no-go for derelicts but still a friendly place for our boat owners.

We hope there’s a solution that doesn’t involve making everyone pay if they want to stay.

While some boaters could doubtless afford to do so, many simply cannot.

Owners of small vessels who have successfully been part of the boating community for decades shouldn’t have their rights stripped from them along with the pleasure of boating.

So it’s an A for effort, an F for execution, and hope for the do-over.

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