Harbour authority offering free driftwood to citizens

Times Colonist

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority’s offer of free driftwood is being picked up by citizens.

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It’s a win-win situation: The harbour authority gets rid of the driftwood constantly piling up on the shores of its properties and members of the public can tote off whatever they want.

When citizens take the driftwood home, it saves the harbour authority the cost of disposing of it.

Since posting its availability on social media this week, the amount of driftwood, which was collected by crews, has already decreased, Brian Cant, harbour authority spokesman, said Friday.

He is hoping that people who take it will post photos of what they’ve done with it. Groups of artists have been sharing the post on social media.

It is common for local residents to use driftwood to create artistic sculptures or garden features.

Anyone wanting driftwood can go to the northern edge of the Breakwater District at the James Bay Community Boat Launch near Ogden Point.

Don’t worry, it won’t run out. Driftwood will keep piling up and citizens are welcome to it.

The harbour authority asks that people collect it on evenings and weekends to avoid nearby construction underway at other times.

It also cautions that the source of the driftwood isn’t known and the harbour authority does not know if it holds any contaminants.

Wondering about a desirable piece of wood you’ve found on the beach? That’s permitted — under certain conditions — provided it is above the high-tide mark on Crown land, states the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

People are permitted to take driftwood if it is less than three metres long, if it is for personal use only and not sold, is beach-worn and doesn’t have bark on it and is rounded at both ends. It also can not be taken if it has a hammer mark or timber brand at either end.

You can’t take wood if it is in or next to an ecological reserve or parkland owned by any level of government, or on private or First Nations land.

Anyone wanting to be a commercial beachcomber and take wood from below the high tide mark will need a $250 salvage permit, good for one year.

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