Saanich Inlet Working Group Meeting – November 30, 2016
Written by Michael Simmons
Deputy Chief Derren Lench, Central Saanich Police Service (Chair)
Michael Simmons, Saanich Inlet Protection Society (Vice-chair)
Paul Bastarache, Compliance and Enforcement Branch, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources
Roberta Bight, Transport Canada
Petra Allen, Saanich Inlet Protection Society
Ian Cameron, Saanich Inlet Protection Society
Allan Adams, Central Saanich Maritime Society
Harvey Merritt, Central Saanich Maritime Society
Anne Henderson, Brentwood Bay Citizen Group
Alicia Holman, District of Central Saanich Council
Greg Attinson , Office of MLA Gary Holman
Discussion (captured under themes)
Sunken Vessels: Update on ongoing efforts to have two sunken vessels removed from Brentwood Bay. One is just off shore and one has been tied to a mooring buoy further out. Willis from Willis Marine has been asked to come out and provide two estimates – one to raise the vessels and tow to shore and one to tow, destroy and take to the dump. Once the estimates are obtained further discussions will occur with the District and Transport Canada for possible in-kind or financial contributions. As well depending on the cost it may have to go to Mayor and Council. Central Saanich Police Service will assist as required however will not cover any of the expenses to remove and destroy. The vessels may have to remain stored at Public Works for a period of time to attempt location of the owners. Transport Canada will provide the necessary Receiver of Wrecks paperwork retroactively as necessary. At this stage they aren’t a priority for Transport Canada as they aren’t affecting navigation or in a navigation lane. The Coast Guard has determined they aren’t a pollution concern.
Floats/docks: Several participants brought up concerns about possibly illegal floats and which government department has responsibility for them. Some are attached to land while others are out in the bay, some without lights. As well there are cases where several docks are attached to each other with more than one vessel alongside. Paul and Roberta did provide some context to the law included the requirement for a Letter of Occupation if attached to land. Both advised that information can be provided to them directly for any floats or docks that are of concern.
New Legislation: There is a new Ocean Protection Plan which has been announced with funding attached. It is unknown how the finances will be distributed although it will allow staff to focus specifically on ‘vessels of concern’.
Currently the Navigation Protection Act is being reviewed and there may be positive spinoffs from that.
Ryan Greville from Transport Canada currently sits on a Vessels of Concern Committee which may inform future strategies as well.
Long term solutions: The District of Central Saanich is currently preparing a staff report that will go before Mayor and Council on December 12th. The report will refer to some of the current practices including those implemented in the Gorge, Port Moody and Kelowna. The working group has not been engaged with the District as of yet although they were advised that once the staff report has been reviewed and direction given by Mayor and Council there will be an opportunity for consultation.
Roberta did specifically speak to Transport Canada and their role in permitting and enforcement. She has referenced the strong partnerships with local municipalities. The strategy of just removing mooring buoys is not productive as when one is removed there is someone ready to put in another. The best strategy is when a community get’s together and comes up with innovative solutions. For example on Shuswap Lake the Regional District enacted a zoning bylaw dealing with the surface of the water. Another strategy is a License of Occupation for the bed of a body of water similar to the Gorge. The Municipal Government of Maple Bay has also looked at different solutions.
Inventory of Brentwood Bay: The RCMP and Central Saanich Police Service worked together over the summer to do a complete inventory of all boats, mooring buoys, floats and docks. There were 404 objects recorded with the GPS coordinates. Cpl. Larry Jacobs of the RCMP is currently making them GIS readable and will be sharing with Transport Canada. Roberta made the commitment to take the information and coordinate the review and sharing of future enforcement and regulatory actions. She will research regulations and also determine if there are already some permits in place.
Paul reminded the group that in 2012 a similar joint project took place removing a number of derelict vessels. At the time several departments from different levels of government worked together with the District of Central Saanich and he committed to continue with similar efforts in the future.
It was agreed that all levels of government need to work together and solutions can be found with that focus. However several participants pointed out there are limited budgets for the District and various departments with competing pressures. There was some discussion that some funding might be available from NGO’s and that may be considered in the future.
Other Concerns: Anne did ask about a possible moratorium on mooring buoys which led to a discussion on the fact that removing them doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t be replaced.
Petra did bring up the success of Washington State in licensing all boats which allows for clear identification. Those funds are then used for crucial regulatory/enforcement and education work. This may be considered through the ongoing work at various levels of government.
There is an ongoing concern that vessels being directed out of the Gorge are now finding their way to Brentwood Bay. Recently that was the case with one boat that was actually towed into the bay. A long term solution has to be found as the same thing will happen once Brentwood Bay finds a solution then the vessels will just move to another community.