Fleet Diving Unit members carrying out their mission. (Photo by Kathleen Fenner)

Fleet Diving Unit members carrying out their mission. (Photo by Kathleen Fenner)

CFB Esquimalt’s Fleet Diving Unit members remove large tires submerged in Chemainus Bay for years

Environmental concerns and deadly hazard for crabs finally alleviated

Members of the Fleet Diving Unit from CFB Esquimalt saved the day for crabs in Chemainus Bay and the environment as a whole with the removal of four large industrial tires from sunken barges Wednesday.

The tires had been in the bay since 2012 as part of the barges brought in for the development of the Chemainus Quay and Marina, a project that eventually failed. The structures attracted a wide variety of marine life, but the massive tires weighing up to 400 kilograms each were trapping Red Rock and Dungeness crabs that couldn’t free themselves and wound up perishing.

Related: Tire removal in Chemainus Bay crucial to crab species survival

The overall effects of the barges in the water has also long been a concern.

Chemainus dive enthusiasts Kathleen Fenner and Gord Bell, along with retired marine biologist Doug Biffard, North Cowichan Environmental Specialist Dave Preikshot and others, finally made some headway after much wrangling to arrange for the removal of the tires that included the submission of a thorough Chemainus Bay Marine Debris Project March 2020 report by Fenner and Biffard to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

There was a series of steps involving the DFO before any tire removal could take place. A lot of paperwork was required besides the actual physical work.

The Fleet Diving Unit arrived in Chemainus Tuesday to set up floats on the tires first for the divers to smoothly and safely remove them Wednesday.

The Diving Unit did the work as a training and public relations exercise without receiving any financial compensation.

“They have been extremely supportive from the start,” praised Fenner, who has long lobbied for the tire removal and was extremely grateful to the military personnel.

“They were willing to take on the task and they accomplished it,” she indicated. “They accomplished what they set out to do cheerfully in miserable weather, as it rained all day Tuesday and Wednesday.”

On behalf of the crabs and the aquatic environment, Fenner also acknowledged the Tire Stewardship BC and Kal Tire’s commercial division in Duncan for supporting the venture.

“I want people to realize that the ocean is no place for garbage, tires or otherwise,” she stressed. “It causes complications difficult to remedy. I also would like it said that when we all work together – government, civilians, commercial businesses and non-profit organizations – we can accomplish a great deal.”

Kal Tire commercial division donated its crane truck with a driver to assist in the removal of the tires once on land.

Joji Ishikawa, operations manager for Tire Stewardship BC, took on a great deal of the project’s organization as well as all the disposal. The non-profit organization is responsible for the recycling of program tires, but not large non-program tires. Ishikawa made every attempt to have the tires recycled and Tire Stewardship agreed to pay any costs related to the disposal.

“It will feel so good to know these tires are properly disposed of and no longer harming the aquatic environment,” enthused Fenner. “I hope to never encounter another environmental situation of needless death of any species. It is way better if we can prevent these situations rather than have to correct them. Thankfully, there are some great people in our extended community.”

Environment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Crew from the Fleet Diving Unit at CFB Esquimalt heads onto the water at Kin Beach for its tire removal endeavour in Chemainus Bay. (Photo by Kathleen Fenner)

Crew from the Fleet Diving Unit at CFB Esquimalt heads onto the water at Kin Beach for its tire removal endeavour in Chemainus Bay. (Photo by Kathleen Fenner)

Crabs were dying in Chemainus Bay after being attracted to large industrial tires and then being unable to free themselves. (Photo by Kathleen Fenner)

Crabs were dying in Chemainus Bay after being attracted to large industrial tires and then being unable to free themselves. (Photo by Kathleen Fenner)

Divers in the vicinity of the place where large industrial tires were being hauled out of Chemainus Bay. (Photo by Kathleen Fenner)

Divers in the vicinity of the place where large industrial tires were being hauled out of Chemainus Bay. (Photo by Kathleen Fenner)

Massive tires from sunken barges in Chemainus Bay are finally removed Wednesday. (Photo by Kathleen Fenner)

Massive tires from sunken barges in Chemainus Bay are finally removed Wednesday. (Photo by Kathleen Fenner)

Fleet Diving Unit members get ready to hit the water. (Photo by Kathleen Fenner)

Fleet Diving Unit members get ready to hit the water. (Photo by Kathleen Fenner)

Divers move into position where they can locate sunken tires. (Photo by Kathleen Fenner)

Divers move into position where they can locate sunken tires. (Photo by Kathleen Fenner)

Size of the tires taken out of Chemainus Bay is put in perspective next to one of the Fleet Diving Unit members. (Photo by Kathleen Fenner)

Size of the tires taken out of Chemainus Bay is put in perspective next to one of the Fleet Diving Unit members. (Photo by Kathleen Fenner)

Huge tires that were killing crabs in Chemainus Bay are finally removed. (Photo by Kathleen Fenner)

Huge tires that were killing crabs in Chemainus Bay are finally removed. (Photo by Kathleen Fenner)

Just Posted

Victoria-based driving instructors are concerned for their own and the community’s safety with the continued number of residents from COVID hotspots in the Lower Mainland coming to the city to take their driving road tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Students from COVID hotspots travel to Victoria for driving tests

Union leader calls on government to institute stronger travel ban

(Courtesy Saanich Police Dept.)
Police hope boot search will help find missing Saanich man

Sean Hart is known to walk for miles, with or without his boots

A Colwood couple has set up over 140 Christmas inflatable decorations around their property at 555 Girdou Rd. The home is lit with Christmas music playing from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Colwood house decorated to the nines with Christmas inflatables

Display on Girou Road open to spectators from 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday

Shopping in the evening in downtown Victoria can be a good time to go, with relatively few people in store and plenty of room to physically distance, as this photo from Government Street shows. (Don Descoteau/News Staff) 
Shopping in the evening in downtown Victoria can be a good time to go, with relatively few people in store and plenty of room to physically distance, as this photo from Government Street shows. But thanks to a new program from the Downtown Victoria Business Association, many downtown businesses will soon be able to provide free delivery for customers across the region. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Downtown Victoria businesses offered free delivery for regional customers

DVBA launches ‘Downtown Delivers’ program Dec. 7

Victoria police seized drugs, knives, two firearms and ammunition off a man early Nov. 4. (Victoria Police Department)
VicPD makes early morning drug and weapons seizure

Officers seize drugs, knives, two firearms and ammunition

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
B.C. hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced a Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

The opening day on Mount Washington this year was Dec. 4. Screenshot
Mount Washington opens on time, COVID-19 protocols in place

“We’re super excited - it’s been six months in the planning.”

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, August 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
PHSA bought faulty respirators; spent money on catering, renovations: Dix

Such spending included ‘unnecessary, unbudgeted renovations’ to the authority’s headquarters in Vancouver

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan releases his election platform, Vancouver, Oct. 6, 2020, featuring COVID-19 relief payments promised for most households. (B.C. NDP photo)
Next $1.5 billion in B.C. COVID-19 cash ‘prudent,’ Horgan says

New round of payments for household incomes up to $175,000

Most Read