John Roe, of the Dead Boats Disposal Society, says it would take 10 to 15 years to clean the coastline of all the abandoned boats and discarded garbage that is now in the water on B.C.’s coast. (Contibuted)

John Roe, of the Dead Boats Disposal Society, says it would take 10 to 15 years to clean the coastline of all the abandoned boats and discarded garbage that is now in the water on B.C.’s coast. (Contibuted)

Work set to begin on removing Sooke’s derelict boats from waterways

Seven boats earmarked to be removed this spring

The $5.6 million allotted to the removal of derelict boats in the Sooke Basin is a good start, but much more will be needed if the problem of abandoned boats is to be properly addressed, says John Roe of the Dead Boats Disposal Society.

Roe is one of the founding members of the non-profit group and one of the driving forces clearing the waterways along B.C.’s bays and inlets of derelict boats, abandoned fishing nets, and assorted trash and contaminants.

RELATED: First Nations Partnerships

“The CRD and Transport Canada report identified seven boats in the Sooke Basin and harbour, but I can tell you that there are at least another six boats in Coopers Cove and at least that number in Anderson Inlet,” Roe said.

“We will be doing the survey work to identify all of the wrecks that we can find, several of which are already on the bottom. And that doesn’t start to address all the other garbage down there.”

The Federal Abandoned Boat Program Funding grant will be spread over five years and will cover 75 per cent of the removal and disposal costs for derelict boats.

The Capital Regional District has committed to cover the remaining 25 per cent through its sustainability reserve, and tipping fees for disposal of what comes out of the water will most likely also be covered by CRD funding as well.

“The disposal costs can be quite high,” explained Roe.

“It’s not just the boats that we are dealing with but the tons of garbage that tend to be in those boats. We’ve found everything … computers, sewing machines, bicycles, half-full paint cans and car engines … if you can imagine it, we’ve found it.

“We then have to separate what we’ve taken out of the water and send the hazardous waste like lead, asbestos, mercury and more to Alberta where it is incinerated at a special facility.”

RELATED: Weaver calls for funding

One of the problems associated with cleaning up abandoned boats in the past has been that there was no easy way of identifying the owners of the wrecks or holding them accountable for disposal costs.

“We now have Bill C64 that will assign a registry number to every boat, but that is going to take five years to get into place and it won’t help with the ones that are already there,” Roe said.

He has issued an appeal to owners of boats who are planning to abandon them to contact the Dead Boats Disposal Society through its Facebook page and simply surrender the boat rather than have it demolished by storms and sink.

“It’s a lot cheaper and easier to get them out of the water while they’re floating. I’ve got a very easy method – all they have to do is sign a piece of paper assigning the boat to us and we can get it out of there,” Roe said.

Roe’s group has applied for funding under the program and will start the removal process in late April when the daytime low tides make the work easier.

Meanwhile, the District of Sooke’s Council received an administrative report on March 11 that raised even more concerns.

The report cited the issue of derelict boats that continue to be occupied by people living aboard, illegal overnight moorage at the municipally owned dock near the Prestige Hotel, and that some boats are being towed into the harbour with the intention of dumping them there.

“It’s an issue that was presented to council and received as information, but it’s on our radar and we’ll be continuing to work on the problems,” said Don Schaffer, Sooke’s interim chief administrative officer.

“This is not a problem that is going to go away any time soon. I would guess it would take 10 to 15 years to clean up the coastline of all the boats and garbage, and that’s if we can stop people from adding more wrecks to the problem,” Roe said.

He added that his organization is always looking for more volunteers to help clean up the waters in Sooke and beyond.



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

 

The Dead Boat Disposal Society works with a company operated by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations to remove derelict boats from local waterways. (contributed)

The Dead Boat Disposal Society works with a company operated by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations to remove derelict boats from local waterways. (contributed)

There is currently no easy way to identify the owners of boats that are abandoned and left to sink. (contributed)

There is currently no easy way to identify the owners of boats that are abandoned and left to sink. (contributed)

Just Posted

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
West Shore proud owners of B.C.’s first electric school bus

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Architect’s rendering of the 7 Erskine Lane development, showing the view from the east and south. (VDA Architecture Ltd. image)
View Royal green-lights residential development on Erskine Lane

First of two developments near Victoria General Hospital will provide 71 housing units

Habitat Acquisition Trust has received provincial funding to help restore Garry oak ecosystems on southern Vancouver Island. (Photo by Jeremy da Silva)
Central Saanich park among sites for local Garry oak restoration projects

Habitat Acquisition Trust received $140,000 in funding for 12 projects

A family of ducks that lives near Saanich Municipal Hall recently welcomed 11 ducklings and took them for a swim in the koi pond outside the offices. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Pair of ducks make Saanich Municipal Hall a nursery for 11 hatchlings

Family of ducks spent time in koi pond before heading down to Swan Lake

Andrew Swanson was arrested Wednesday after he was wanted for an alleged choking assault and for obstructing police. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police arrest Andrew Swanson on warrants for alleged choking assault, obstruction

A member of the public spotted Swanson and called 911 before police came and made the arrest

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

A worker rides a bike at a B.C. Hydro substation in Vancouver, on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Hydro report raises safety concerns as pandemic prompts jump in yard work

Incidents involving weekend tree trimmers, gardeners and landscapers have risen 30% since the pandemic hit

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

Findings indicate a culture of racism, misogyny and bullying has gripped the game with 64 per cent of people involved saying players bully others outside of the rink. (Pixabay)
Misogyny, racism and bullying prevalent across Canadian youth hockey, survey finds

56% of youth hockey players and coaches say disrespect to women is a problem in Canada’s sport

People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Hospital investigating whether Alberta woman who died after AstraZeneca shot was turned away

Woman was taken off life support 12 days after getting vaccine

Most Read