Abandoned boats along BC's coast is a recurring problem. (S. Hermann & F. Richter, PIxabay)
Federal funding is going towards removing and disposing of abandoned boats in Canadian waters.
This includes some off the coast of Vancouver Island.
Under the Abandoned Boats Program, $1,692,079 is being provided to assess 44 boat removal projects in B.C. and Newfoundland and Labrador, and to remove 51 abandoned boats in B.C. and Nova Scotia.
The recipients for removals are:
- Salish Sea Industrial Services Ltd. – Removal and disposal of 24 boats in Victoria ($551,202);
- Coastal Restoration Society – Removal and disposal of 11 boats in Tofino ($327,000);
- We Are The Change For Humanity – Removal and disposal of two boats in Alert Bay ($100,000); and
- Nova Scotia Lands Inc. – Removal and Disposal of 14 boats in Nova Scotia ($559,920).
The federal government says abandoned boats have economic, social, and environmental impacts on local communities across Canada.
They can pollute the marine environment, harm local businesses such as tourism and fisheries, damage infrastructure, interfere with navigation, and pose safety risks to Canadians.
“The Government of Canada is committed to safeguarding our oceans and waterways. The federal funding, through the Abandoned Boats Program, offers communities support in addressing the problem of abandoned boats and the associated risks to Canadian waters,” said federal transport minister, Omar Alghabra.
“Thanks to the progress made through the Oceans Protection Plan, our marine environment is safer and more protected than it has ever been.”
These announcements follow the coming-into-force of the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act on July 30, 2019.
The Act makes it illegal to abandon boats, increases vessel owner liability, and strengthens the Government of Canada’s response in cases where owners do not behave responsibly in disposing of their vessels at the end of their useful life.
In light of the economic impacts related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government will pay for all costs for boat removal assessment projects and for boat removal and disposal projects, for a maximum of $50,000 per project, instead of 75 percent as in previous years.
Launched in November 2016, the $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways.
This work is being done in close collaboration with Indigenous peoples, local stakeholders, and coastal communities.