Hopefully this will be the last editorial we have to write about the Viki Lyne II, and our next coverage will be a picture of the infamous derelict being towed out of Ladysmith Harbour.
News that the Federal Ministry of Transportation is putting out a request for proposals to have the ship safely removed and dismantled – another signal that voices are actually being heard in Ottawa – comes as a huge relief to those who care about the economic, recreational and environmental values of Ladysmith Harbour.
It goes beyond that, though. This development suggests the Liberal government has acknowledged a problem that has been rankling coastal communities throughout Canada for years, and that there may be hope that a more comprehensive solution will be in the making with regard to derelict and abandoned vessels.
There are lots of people to thank for this welcome development – too many to name without leaving people out. But a few in particular should be noted, and encouraged to continue working with Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Hunter Tootoo toward that longer term, more comprehensive solution.
Former Cowichan-Ladysmith MP Jean Crowder, and her successor Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Sheila Malcolmson have been steadfast and staunch advocates for a local and national solution, each having submitted private members’ bills in the House of Commons to do with the issue (Malcolmson’s is still in process, but she would be happy to see more comprehensive government legislation proposed).
Local government leaders – Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone and Stz’uminus Chief John Elliott – have also been deeply committed to protecting the harbour and averting an environmental disaster in the making.
The many citizens who have written letters, attended protests, and kept us all focused on this issue also deserve credit for this outcome, and they too need to continue pressing for more comprehensive legislation and regulations.