Derelict boats removed from Saanich beaches

Saanich public works staff got down to serious business Tuesday, using an excavator to cut up a 40-tonne cement hulk despoiling the Cadboro Bay Park waterfront since Dec. 5.

The hulk, which washed toward shore during a windstorm Dec. 5, was too heavy to haul away and its former live-aboard owner financially unable to pay for the costly cleanup.

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Municipal staff also cleared away a yellow sailboat that washed up at Gyro Park in the same storm.

The pieces will be transported to the Hartland Landfill for disposal.

Cost is estimated to be in the neighbourhood of $15,000 plus several thousand more for disposal costs, according to Saanich engineering director Harley Machielse.

Crews were expected to take two days to deal with the derelict vessels, given they could work only in low-tide conditions, but wrapped up their work in one day.

Booms will surround the area for several days in case there were hydrocarbons under the hulk, and staff will monitor the beach to ensure public safety.

On Monday, Saanich council called on other municipalities to help pressure Ottawa and the province to establish a cleanup fund for derelict vessels that contaminate coastal areas.

Already in place in Oregon and Washington, a similar Canadian fund could be supported through fees from vessel purchases, registration, insurance and moorage for the issue that spills across municipalities and levels of government.

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