WATCH: Derelict boats on Cadboro Bay Beach were towed offshore and dumped Saturday. An effort more than a year in the making. Isabelle Raghem reports.
Vessels were flying on Cadboro Bay Beach Saturday.
“The boats are being hauled away, boats are leaving today. It’s wonderful,” says Eric Dahli of the Cadboro Bay Residents’ Association and longtime cleanup volunteer.
“It’s the end of a chapter of a lot of hard work by a whole lot of people.”
This weekend, residents got the shoreline clean up they’ve been waiting years to get.
Derelict boats have been an ongoing problem in the municipalities of Oak Bay and Saanich which encompass Cadboro Bay Beach.
Saanich spent $50,000 to clean up their municipalities’ side in November 2016. The Oak Bay side remained littered due to a lack of funding.
The community’s hard work paid off Saturday. The effort possible thanks to $4,000 from the municipality of Oak Bay and about $10,000 from the province, and a lot of volunteers.
“We haven’t had the push to get them out of the water and so it’s great now to see different groups coming together to get the boats cut up removed and out of here,” says Ian Hinkle from the Royal Victoria Yacht Club.
Once pulled out of the water, smaller vessels were picked up by an excavator and disposed of in a large bin. Larger ones were cut up thanks to welders into smaller parts.
Despite Saturday’s glee, there are lingering concerns.
“This is a perennial problem up and down the coast here in the CRD and for that matter up and down the island,” says Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen.
Jensen says a smaller municipality like his can’t afford the cleanups every year.
“What we need is a national program to remove derelict boats.”
Derelict boats have caught the attention Trudeau Government. It announced a new $5.6 million Abandoned Boats program earlier this year.
“We’ve now got enough to make a difference, so this is a first good step but people shouldn’t think we’ve solved the problem we’ve got a lot more to do,” says NDP MP for Victoria, Murray Rankin.
But there’s optimism in the air Saturday.
“[Hopeful] that boats won’t sit for years before something is done,” adds Dahli.
They’re hoping their ongoing efforts will make enough waves to prevent it from happening again.