Feds promise $1.7M to remove abandoned boats in B.C., Newfoundland
VICTORIA -- Transport Canada has earmarked nearly $1.7-million to recover abandoned boats in B.C. and Newfoundland and Labrador.
The funding will sponsor the removal of 51 abandoned boats across the two provinces, and will be used to assess 44 more boat removal projects.
"Abandoned boats are a growing problem and have economic, social, and environmental impacts on local communities across Canada," said the ministry in an announcement Tuesday.
"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."
Previously, the federal government only funded 75 per cent of approved boat removal and disposal projects. Now, Canada will cover 100 per cent of the costs for each project, up to a maximum of $50,000.
The federal government said work continues on the newly established "Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act," which came into effect in July 2019. The act increases boat-owner liability, makes it illegal to abandon vessels, and gives the government more tools to reprimand irresponsible boat owners.
In August 2019, there were an estimated 1,400 abandoned boats along B.C.'s coast, according to the B.C.-based Dead Boats Disposal Society.
On Vancouver Island, oceanfront residents are no strangers to derelict vessels washing ashore.
On New Year's Eve, an abandoned sailboat came dangerously close to a home in Cadboro Bay. The homeowner had to pay to have the boat removed, which was close to damaging a glass seawall fence.
The Cadboro Bay Residents Association says washed up boats are a regular occurrence, and is calling for vessel owners to be held responsible for cleanup costs.