Second barge sinks in Chemainus harbour

A second barge sinks in Chemainus harbour, while barge towed to Ladysmith earlier this year remains at Slack Point.

The ongoing saga of the barges squatting in Chemainus harbour continues.

In January, one of five barges originally brought in by the developers of the Chemainus Quay and Marina Complex sunk to the bottom of the harbour. But despite a removal order from Transport Canada in February, the barges have continued to bob in the bay — until one of the three remaining barges sank last week.

“On Wednesday, Transport Canada responded immediately to the reports that [one of] the barge[s] was in danger of sinking,” Transport Canada’s Jillian Glover explained on Friday afternoon. “Arrangements were made to have the barge pumped out as soon as possible. We are currently monitoring the situation and assessing what action needs to be taken.”

Myles Mana, director of authorizations with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources, said the situation is not ideal but better than could be expected.

“It [sunk] in about 45 feet of water, so at low tide, the deck is still quite a ways below the water and it’s outside the navigation channel,” he said.

He said removing or disposing of the remaining barges continues to be a priority.

“We’re still concerned with the two that are left, because if they were to also sink and land on top of the ones already there [in Chemainus], it would make it very shallow, even though they’re outside the [navigation] channel,” he said. “And there’s always the potential when something sinks that it doesn’t sink straight down … so one could still very well end up in that navigation channel if it’s not dealt with.”

Two barges remain in the Chemainus harbour. The third and final remaining barge currently sits on Slack Point in Ladysmith, where it was towed after the first barge sunk in January. The ministry has had the top of the barge cleared of debris as of June 1, and it now awaits transport or disposal.

“It was the worst of the bunch … it was needing pumping about three times a week,” Mana said.

Glover said a notice warning boaters in the area of additional debris as a result of the sinking of the barge was also issued.

“The Navigable Waters Protection Act allows Transport Canada to order an owner to adequately mark and/or remove an anchored/sunken vessel that is obstructing navigation,” Glover said in an e-mail to the  Chronicle. “Failure to respond means Transport Canada may mark or remove the obstruction and recover costs from the owner. Transport Canada considers the barge owner responsible.”

But Glover also noted that while the provincial government and Transport Canada have explored disposal options, traditional disposal options “are not feasible at this time.”

— With files from Niomi Pearson

Just Posted

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

CVRD to increase enforcement after audits reveal that curb-side recycling contamination in the district is well above acceptable limits. (File photo)
CVRD reports contamination in recyclables well above acceptable levels

Increased enforcement planned starting this summer

A conceptual rendering of the commercial plaza at 1130 Rocky Creek Road. (Town of Ladysmith/June 15 Council Agenda)
Rocky Creek commercial plaza passes public hearing

The proposed plaza at 1130 Rocky Creek Road would bring commercial activity to Ladysmith’s north end

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Most Read