A container ship in dock, having it’s cargo unloaded. (Associated Press File)

Green Party calls Salish Sea ‘free parking lot for world’s largest container ships’

MP Elizabeth May rails against Port of Vancouver, Transport Canada and impact on local environment

The Greens have accused the Port of Vancouver of “mismanagement,” saying the waters around the southern Gulf Islands have been turned into “a free parking lot for the world’s largest container ships.”

That’s according to a recent written statement, where the Greens call on Minister of Transport Marc Garneau to look at the issue.

ALSO READ: Scuba scientists help save endangered marine life off Vancouver Island

“The presence of these freighters anchoring in the Salish Sea is incredibly disruptive to my constituents and the local environment,” said Green Party leader and M.P. for Saanich-Gulf Islands Elizabeth May. “Transport Canada’s decision to extend the Interim Protocol for the Use of Southern B.C. Anchorages is simply not acceptable.”

Paul Manly, M.P. for Nanaimo-Ladysmith echoes May’s concerns, saying that not only are local residents suffering from noise and light pollution, there’s also dust from maintenance work, sewage being dumped into the water and damage to the ocean floor caused by dragging anchors.

“Residents of Thetis Island and Ladysmith are also being affected and they’re calling for an immediate moratorium on these anchorages,” he said.

According to Transport Canada’s website there is no formal process to regulate the practices of ships anchored outside ports.

“Residents have not been properly consulted by Transport Canada nor have they been updated on the status of these ships,” said May. “Surely it would have been common courtesy for Transport Canada to ensure that these early measures occurred? The Salish Sea is a sensitive ecosystem, home to endangered species like the southern resident killer whale whose habitat is being constantly invaded and threatened by the presence of these vessels.

ALSO READ: New photos help identify mystery creature found on Peninsula beach

“I therefore ask Transport Canada to have the freighters using southern B.C. anchorages removed by the end of June, when the protocol was supposed to end, and find another solution to traffic jams in the Port of Vancouver. Residents and wildlife should not have to suffer for the mistakes of Transport Canada.”

The Port of Vancouver responded with a written statement.

“Growing trade demands have led to increasing demand for anchorages, often in excess of Port of Vancouver capacity. When all Port of Vancouver anchorages are in use, ships anchor outside of port jurisdiction, including around the Gulf Islands.”

They go on to say that Gulf Island anchorages fall with the jurisdiction of Transport Canada and they are only assisting them. They say they have set time limits for anchorage use, added three extra anchorages in English Bay and avoid assigning ships to Gulf Islands anchoarages whenever possible.

ALSO READ: Deep Cove Mermaid raises eco-issues swimming Mexico, backed by Mexican Navy

Transport Canada said they launched the Anchorages Initiative in 2017 and an interim protocol was enacted in February 2018. They say they are presently engaged in a period of careful consultation with stakeholders.

In a written statement, Transport Canada wrote, “It is important to note that in Canada, as in many other countries, the right to anchor a vessel is part of the common law of navigation. A ship is free to anchor temporarily and for a reasonable period of time in any appropriate location.”



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ladysmith principal mourns family killed during US protests

Jelks says he’s grateful for the outpouring of support from the community in the wake of this tragedy

Considerations made to keep Crofton drive-by birthday celebrations going

Trucks will tone it down or not use horns at all to bring some joy to kids and older folks

COVID-19 birthday drive-by celebrations snuffed out in Crofton

Bylaw officer visit with threats of a fine mean parade trucks taken off the road

Long-awaited opening for Chemainus Public Market

All components not up and running just yet, but will be soon

Void of summer events going to be felt in Chemainus

CBIA cancels Classics Car Show and Canada Day celebrations

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

Police look for suspect after alleged assault at gas station in Nanaimo

Victim says he was punched in the head several times in late April at business in South Wellington

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Bank of Canada keeps key interest rate target on hold at 0.25%

Central bank now expects GDP to decline between 10 and 20 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2019

Friendly Cove and Kyuquot will remain closed until further notice

Transition of other B.C. communities will be monitored before a decision to ease restrictions

Racist incident shocks Vancouver Island First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP investigating after video shows truck wheeling through Tseshaht territory

Gold River organizes a shop local initiative to creatively boost economy

Local purchases can earn shoppers $200 gift certificates to be spent on businesses within Gold River

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit was en route as whale broke free from prawn trap line

Most Read