‘It’s hurting business’: Sunken barge near Quadra Island more than an eyesore

'It's hurting business': Sunken barge near Quadra Island more than an eyesore

Jade Resort on Quadra Island is a hillside waterfront getaway in beautiful Gowland Harbour.

Unfortunately, guests have to literally overlook a derelict eyesore to see it.

“Yeah, it’s hurting business,” said Jade Resort owner Holly Fink. “People want to be able to use the docks but they can’t use the docks because the house is there. We have an oceanfront resort property, people want to pull their boats up to the docks, they want to fish off the docks, launch their kayaks, and it’s impossible with that there.”

CHEK News first reported on the accommodation barge in Sept. 2021 when it was just beginning to sink.

It had already been there for several weeks, but the two-story building was still mostly above water.

It had been abandoned by someone who might have tied it to the pilings in front of what was the Seascape Resort at the time to save it during a storm, but the owner, Doug Rogers of Kelowna, has washed his hands of it and says he doesn’t have any money to clean it up.

The condition has deteriorated significantly since then, and it could cost as much as $300,000 to remove it, but no one is taking responsibility.

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Dean Mueller bought the property three years ago, and the barge sank the day after possession.

“It’s just been rotting away and falling apart,” he said.

“We’ve all been doing our part and doing our best to go out and retrieve pieces of it floating in the harbour. There are lots of kayakers around, and there’s lots of children kayaking from the kid’s camp next door. It’s really dangerous.”

He says he’s called everyone he can think of, from the Coast Guard to the Regional District, but no one will help him get rid of it.

“I’ve offered to clean it up myself if I can but I’m not allowed to touch it. No one’s allowed to touch it, no one’s allowed to go around it,” Mueller said.

‘An environmental crisis’

In the meantime, the old floating lodge continues to fall apart piece by piece.

“It does have to go, and being an eco-resort, it’s the complete opposite of what our core values are,” said Jade Resort co-owner Caroline Stark.

“This is an environmental crisis, and yes, we use biodegradable products, and we promote eco-conscious travelling, and then there’s this,” Stark said. “We’ve had paint cans and even a refrigerator float out of it.”

The Coast Guard says it’s not a vessel so it’s not within its mandate.

In a statement to CHEK News, the Strathcona Regional District said, “The SRD was previously made aware of the floating lodge and investigated to determine what, if any, jurisdiction it had over its mooring. It was determined that the SRD had no regulatory jurisdiction, and it proceeded to inform the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRO), the provincial agency that regulates the occupation of the foreshore and associated activities.”

It added, “The SRD received information that the structure of the floating lodge was deteriorating, and staff communicated this information to the Province and Coast Guard. The Province advised that they would be continuing with their enforcement and removal of the chattel.”

“Provincial Natural Resource Officers (NRO) advised staff that they have attended and evaluated the float home, and the matter of sizing assets and effecting clean up are being dealt with via the NRO and Attorney General’s Office.”

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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