On June 16, the Chronicle asked in a front page, banner story why the Viki Lyne II was still in Ladysmith Harbour. We still haven’t got a sensible answer, but as of Sunday the federal and provincial governments, and the Canadian Coast Guard know a lot more people are asking.
It’s a question that will hopefully be asked in a lot more coastal communities in Canada as we head into an October election, because the situation with the Viki Lyne II defies common sense.
In a nutshell – and a nutshell is the only suitable container for this situation – the boat is derelict; it contains 13,000 litres of oils and solvents, enough to do serious damage to tourism, recreational and aquiculture activities in this region; it’s hull is so rusted a Coast Guard commissioned report suspects it may have already been eaten through, and all that’s keeping the 224 ton trawler from sinking is scale and aquatic growth.
If she does sink, the cost of a cleanup will certainly be much higher than the cost of dealing with this disaster in waiting before it happens.
That report was submitted to the Coast Guard in June 2012, and concluded by saying: “Disassembly and scraping of the vessel is the only certain way of removing her current threat to the environment.”
Faced with the illogic of this situation, we would do well to listen to the council of an 11 year-old participant in Sunday’s protest. Said Ava Smith, “This boat has been here for a while, and no-one’s done anything about it, and I don’t think that’s good because there’s a lot of things this harbour is doing for this town and this boat here could ruin some of the resources.”
The truth of the situation is not complicated, except for those who are muddying the waters for reasons the rest of us can’t understand.
Craig Spence, Editor