Volunteers representing a broad coalition of groups removed tons of garbage from in and around derelict boats stranded on the Oak Bay side of Cadboro Bay. (Black Press file)

CRD seeks federal funding for abandoned boats

Board to write a letter to Transportation Minister Marc Garneau outlining CRD comments, concerns

The Capital Regional District will seek federal funding to deal with derelict vessels, for a total of $1,050,000 in two grants from the Abandoned Boats Program.

These grants consist of $50,000 in Abandoned Boat Education and Awareness funding and $1,000,000 in Abandoned Boat Assessment and Removals funding, with the CRD contributing $16,667 and $333,333, respectively.

“Abandoned boats create a significant environmental and safety risk for our region,” said Barb Desjardins, CRD board chair. “The board supports a regional funding application to maximize available federal grants and ensure ongoing leadership to address the issue.”

CRD support will come from an expansion of the Environmental Resource Management Community Clean-up Program, and CRD staff will approach the Southern Vancouver Island Regional Districts, the Islands Trust and First Nations regarding potential ways to work together to address abandoned boats under the federal ABP initiative.

“The goal is to have derelict and abandoned vessels dealt with systematically and efficiently within CRD boundaries; with the length of coastline, the number of affected vessels, and the complexities of accessing Federal funding and approvals, it makes sense for management to be done at a regional level,” said Coun. Kevin Murdoch, acting Oak Bay mayor. “However, with the uncertainties of approvals at this point and the approaching winter storm season, it still makes sense for Oak Bay to work with the province and community partners to remove local derelict vessels in the near term.”

The CRD board will also write a letter to Transportation Minister Marc Garneau outlining comments and concerns from CRD directors, including: streamlining the vessel removal process into a simple one-call solution, using BC as a vessel licensing program test site, federal research into the materials that may safely be used in hulls and strategies for the disposal of vessels which may contain hazardous waste.

A group dubbed the Dead Boats Society has worked diligently since spring to clean up abandoned vessels in Cadboro Bay. The group formed after efforts to remove more than a dozen boats from the Oak Bay side of Cadboro Beach stalled in May because of funding issues.

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