In recognition of World Oceans Day, it is fitting to reflect on the work we have done together to address abandoned and derelict vessels in the community. I commend the Pender Harbour Advisory Council, the District of Sechelt and the Municipality of Bowen Island. Each community has taken a slightly different approach, utilizing local expertise. All have taken the lead in applying for grants to assess derelict vessels and in receiving funding to have vessels removed.
In the spirit of learning from others, in February 2017 Bowen Island municipality obtained a 30 year Licence of Occupation from the province of British Columbia for Mannion Bay, with intent to restore socioecological integrity in the Bay. Council passed a bylaw, enforceable by the RCMP, to address loss of public safety and enjoyment. Mannion Bay boat owners now require to provide: boat name and license; contact information; and proof of third party liability insurance. Those who have a mooring buoy in the Bay are now required to: pay an annual fee of $240; ensure the vessel is safe, seaworthy and in compliance with the Licence of Occupation; and ensure that use of the vessel complies with use of beaches and water areas described in the bylaw, including restrictions related to live-aboards and floating storage units. Bylaw officers are now enforcing these measures.
The recent experience of Bowen Island may be helpful for communities on the Sunshine Coast. The detailed work of assessment that Pender Harbour and Sechelt have undertaken is commendable. Both examples show how local, provincial and federal jurisdictions can be mutually reinforcing.
In spring 2017 we introduced the Abandoned Boats Program to begin dealing with derelicts. In October 2017 we introduced Bill C-64, the Wrecked Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act to bring the 2007 Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks into Canadian law. This strengthens vessel owner liability, addresses irresponsible vessel management, includes a prohibition on abandonment and enhances federal powers to take proactive action on problem vessels. Our national strategy is focused on the prevention and removal of problem vessels.
It has been a highly constructive public policy process. I am grateful for the knowledgeable people in the community who have helped inform me and who have volunteered to take real action. This week I will debate Bill C-64 at the report stage. We hope to pass C-64 at third reading so it can move to the Senate. All being well, the legislation will come into law this fall. Here’s to the pull of the tide!
Please visit: www.pgoldsmithjones.liberal.ca for more information. I welcome your thoughts – Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org, connect with us on Facebook: Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, or drop by our office in Horseshoe Bay, 6367 Bruce Street 604-913-2660.