The federal government has announced it will be providing nearly $2 million towards the assessment and removal of multiple abandoned boats in British Columbia.
According to the government, abandoned boats have become a growing problem across Canada causing economic, social, and environmental impacts on communities.
On Vancouver Island, derelict boats have been an issue in areas such as Cadboro Bay and Ten Mile Point over the past few years as more and more vessels have washed up on shore and littered beaches.
On Tuesday, the Government of Canada revealed that it was allocating $1,692,079 towards the assessment of 44 boat removal projects in British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador and the removal of 51 abandoned boats in British Columbia and Nova Scotia.
“The Government of Canada is committed to safeguarding our oceans and waterways. The federal funding, through the Abandoned Boats Program, offers communities support in addressing the problem of abandoned boats and the associated risks to Canadian waters. Thanks to the progress made through the Oceans Protection Plan, our marine environment is safer and more protected than it has ever been,” said Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport.
As a result of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government notes that it will be paying 100 per cent of costs for boat removal assessment and boat disposal projects, with a maximum of $50,000 per project. This is an increase over the 75 per cent of costs covered in previous years.
In an effort to minimize the number of abandoned boats across Canada, the federal government implemented the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act on July 30, 2019 – an act that makes it illegal to abandon boats, while increasing vessel owner liability.
“Abandoned and wrecked vessels have no place in our oceans and coastal communities. They’re a danger to our natural environment and they take up space in what should be our community hubs,” said Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. “This is about protecting and preserving our beautiful coastlines so they can be utilized and enjoyed to their potential by Canadians.”
According to the government, 201 abandoned vessels have been removed and disposed of to date as part of the Abandoned Boats Program, which was launched back in 2017.
In December, a local Vancouver Island company, Salish Sea Industrial Services, was contracted to remove 25 boats within the Salish Sea – ten of which were located in Cadboro Bay or Ten Mile Point.