WATCH: With no money in the federal budget for derelict vessels, volunteers in Cadboro Bay will tackle the problem themselves May 13. April Lawrence reports.
Eric Dahli is fed up with derelict boats on Cadboro Bay, so he’s spearheading a volunteer effort to clean them up.
“We said well if Oak Bay won’t do it, damn it we will,” said Dahli, President of the Cadboro Bay Residents’ Association.
The part of the beach in Oak Bay’s boundary is littered with colourful wrecks, all numbered one through 16.
Including the massive steel hull of a houseboat that has, at some point, caught fire.
“We have no idea about the fuel tanks, we have no idea about what’s in here,” said Dahli.
If you look over to the Saanich side of the beach though, there isn’t a boat in site.
That’s because that municipality, with some funding from the province, cleaned it up last fall.
Dahli can’t understand why Oak Bay won’t follow suit.
“This seems to be an orphan beach as far as Oak Bay is concerned they just don’t seem to take care of it,” he said.
Oak Bay’s mayor says he’s appealed numerous times to the province to take care of the problem, with no success.
But, unlike Saanich, Nils Jensen says his small municipality can’t afford to get involved.
“They’re about five times the size of ours, have an even bigger budget than five times ours, they have the money and the staff capacity to help out, we just don’t have that,” Jensen said.
So the volunteer group is leaving government behind, and it will be all hands on deck May 13th.
“We just want people to come down, be careful, enjoy the day and we’ll provide a little bit of entertainment and some food and come and see how it’s done,” said organizer John Roe.
Roe has been dealing with derelict boats for years.
He’s hoping a couple hundred volunteers will show up to help with the complex clean up.
“C-Tow is pulling them off, they’re going to the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, they’re hauling them out. Ralmax is coming down with their equipment and they’re going to barge them or bin them whatever it takes then they’re going to Ralmax’s yard and their machine will be there to grind them up and then they go to the dump,” said Roe.
Oak Bay says it too will join the efforts May 13th, hauling away what garbage it can.
The hope is the provincial and federal governments will eventually take over this issue and rid our coastline of the abandoned eyesores for good.