Another of these dumped barges off Chemainus is sinking and being pumped using public dollars

Another of these dumped barges off Chemainus is sinking and being pumped using public dollars

Derelict barges sinking off Chemainus shows feds’ lack of action on ditched boats

MP Crowder and Mayor Lefebure demanding action from Ottawa on local and national derelict-vessel scourge

A sinking feeling continues in Chemainus as barge three sinks, and Cowichan leaders demand federal action about derelict boats.

A staffer at Chemainus Health Care Centre confirmed Thursday support vessels were pumping water from one of two abandoned, Second World War-era docks left in Mural Town’s harbour.

Two others sit on the bottom; a fifth was towed to Ladysmith months ago.

That expensive irresponsibility miffed MP Jean Crowder, and Mayor Jon Lefebure.

“Transport Canada has to pay to pump them, to keep them afloat,” said Lefebure, who had no exact pump-out costs to taxpayers.

Crowder said from Ottawa she aimed to anchor her proposed private member’s bill — to nationally ban and punish owners parking boats — in Parliament during the fresh sitting by working with the transport and fisheries ministers.

“I hope to raise it with the ministers. Overall responsibility is with transport minister Denis Lebel,” she said.

The mayor’s personal message to Prime Minister Stephen Harper was simple.

“Please recognise Jean’s work, and the fact we, as coastal community, really need the federal departments to step up and deal with this serious problem.

“It can be far better dealt with before these vessels go down, than afterward.”

Crowder also aims to approach fisheries and oceans minister Keith Ashfield, whose turf covers the Coast Guard as environmental watchdogs.

“Lebel’s responsibilities are navigable waters and whether it’s a maritime obstruction. That’s where changes have to happen in Canada’s Shipping Act.

Lebel aside, “we also want the Coast Guard responsible as a focal point when vessels get into trouble.”

Closer to Cowichan, “This issue may also come up at the Union of B.C. Municipalities (convention),” Crowder said, “because it’s such a serious problem on the coast.”

She also cited the fuel-filled Dominion sitting in Cowichan Bay for the past five years.

The mayor pointed to huge abandoned hull that reached Penelakut Island’s Native shores in recent years. It has since been removed.

“That offends me just as it does having a derelict boat in our harbour.

“It’s legitimate for us to expect the feds to recognize this situation and deal with it.”

Lefebure was sick of buck-passing.

“It’s pushed between different federal departments because they don’t necessarily have the budget to deal with (derelict ship laws).

“They’re apparently not looking to be responsible.

“When this Chemainus Harbour problem started, we immediately got onto the provincial and federal governments.”

Transport Canada responded to prevent the barges from becoming a navigational danger, he explained.

“Apparently, the harbour’s deep enough so (the two sunk) aren’t navigational hazards.

“The two left could affect navigation into Chemainus Harbour if they break loose.”

Crowder cited Washington State’s derelict-ship fund to bankroll the securing and pumping of dumped boats, then finding owners under U.S. Coast Guard action.

“They have a model for us to follow.”

An informal inventory of parked vessels, just the south coast, tallied some 200 crafts, she noted.

Just Posted

(File photo)
Poverty reduction survey identifies 10 poverty themes

Poverty reduction plan will be finalized in July 2021

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly says he has no intentions of leaving the Green Party. (House of Commons image)
Island Green MPs have “no intention” of leaving the party after ‘heartbreaking’ departure

Manly, May only remaining Green MPs after Jenica Atwin left for the Liberals over internal disputes

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

Justine Keefer’s Cedar Elementary School Grade 6/7 class put together a student paper, as part of a school project. Pictured here Andrew Gregory, left, Felix Leduc, Addison Armstrong, Lucia Walker and Anise Dick. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Cedar Elementary School students create their own newspaper

Grade 6/7 class publishes Wolf Pack News as part of language arts and social studies

Évangeline Laforest and Oscar McClements’ invention La Méduse (the Jellyfish) removes oil from the ocean. The invention was one of 15 out of 700 inventions submitted to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s Little Inventors contest. (Cole Schisler photo)
‘Little Inventors’ from Ladysmith showcased in national science challenge

Évangeline Laforest and Oscar McClements were one of 15 finalists in the Little Inventors Challenge

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read