Rick StiebelThe Chronicle
The battle to remove the Viki Lyne II from Ladysmith Harbour has finally come to an end.
Sheila Malcolmson, NDP MP for Ladysmith-Namaimo attended a press conference Thursday at the Ladysmith Marina announcing that the 33-metre ship, which has been a blight in the harbour for the past four years, would be removed.
The ship will be towed to Nanaimo for dismantling by Canadian Maritime Engineering in accordance with federal and provincial regulations.
Malcolmson has been lobbying the federal government for years to come up with a solution to deal with the problem of derelict vessels, which she says is currently on a ship-by-ship, one-at-a-time basis.
“Year after year, no one takes responsibility for abandoned vessels and they get pushed here,” she said. “It still amazes me that it has taken over four years to have this vessel removed.”
She credited former MP Jean Crowder for pushing for action, and praised Rod Smith, managing director of the Ladysmith Maritime Society, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone and Chief John Elliot of the Stz’uminus First Nation for their hard work and perseverance in finally getting rid of the Viki Lyne II.
“It’s a great day for Ladysmith,” she said. “When you consider the organized protests and everyone’s efforts, it shows how long it takes and reinforces the need for a past to coast policy, she added.
Malcolmson tabled a private member’s bill in February asking the federal government to implement regulations that would give the Canadian Coast Guard the authority to deal with derelict vessels in a timely fashion.
Stone said although it took far too long, he was happy that it finally got done.
“This is a big day for our community,” he noted. He credited Smith and Ellliot as well for their efforts, and the new federal government for taking action on the Viki Lyne II.
He also thanked the Chronicle and other media for keeping the issue in the forefront.
“We must continue to press for a long-term solution,” Stone said.
Smith echoed Stone and Malcolmson’s comments and said he had taken his kids out of school for the announcement.
“They were part of the protest and I thought it was important for them to see that it can take time, but things get done,” Smith said.