Coast guard will remove derelict boats under Island MP's bill - Times Colonist - August 5, 2011

August 8th, 2011 - 4:48pm

Derelict boats like the 46-metre MV Dominion 1, a tiresome fixture in Cowichan Bay, may soon be history if a private member's bill introduced by Nanaimo-Cowichan MP Jean Crowder is passed.

Crowder has proposed that the Canadian Coast Guard become responsible for removing derelict vessels from the waters around coastal communities.

Current laws do not pin the responsibility for derelict boats on any one government department.

The topic is a contentious one on the coast and politicians like Crowder and Conservative MP James Lunney have long called for change.

"This bill ensures that these vessels are properly disposed of and that our harbours and waterways are protected from contamination and debris," Crowder said in a press release.

The MV Dominion 1 was purchased by Robert Hall, of Oregon, in 1992. He has tried unsuccessfully to sell the vessel but said last year he's unhappy with the price offered. He said he'd sell the vessel for scrap, but it remains anchored in Cowichan Bay, a sensitive salmon habitat.

Locals fear the boat will leak contaminants into the ecosystem, said Lori Iannidinardo, the Cowichan Bay director for Cowichan Valley Regional District.

"It is important that this and other abandoned vessels are dealt with appropriately," Iannidinardo said in a press release. "We do not want this vessel to simply be moved to another location where it would continue to be a hazard."

In Victoria, residents along the Gorge have complained about derelict vessels anchored there.

Parliament tabled the bill June 16. Crowder hopes to raise it in September when MPs return to Ottawa.