Source: Boating BC eNewsletter
Last November Prime Minister Trudeau announced a $1.5 billion investment in a new initiative called the Oceans Protection Plan (OPP), and in March the Plan became a reality in the federal budget. The OPP is a broad initiative that will address a wide variety of needs and issues related to our coast – many of which are yet to be confirmed. One area that is being addressed, which we have been working with Transport Canada on for some time, is the issue of derelict and abandoned vessels; what are now being referred to as vessels of concern.
The government recognizes that this is a national issue and, here in BC, has become a year-round problem as vessels stack up along the coast obstructing access to marinas and harbours, creating environmental concerns and becoming an eyesore for coastal communities. Over the last 12 months, Transport Canada has worked to understand the issue of vessels of concern and now acknowledge that a comprehensive solution is required.
Finding the solution is a joint project between the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canadian Coast Guard and Transport Canada – who are also working collaboratively with other levels of government. The two priorities identified are how to address the high volume of vessels currently abandoned across the country, and preventative measures to ensure we never see this happen again. A portion of the OPP funding will be applied to removing current vessels of concern over the next five years – starting with smaller vessels as early as this fall.
Moving forward, the government is looking to invest in programs that support the disposal of vessels at the end of their life – specifically, fiberglass recycling initiatives, the lack of which is a global issue. They will be looking to boaters to take responsibility for their vessels through to the end of its life and we can expect new legislation in this regard in the coming years. Boating BC, and our partners nationally, will continue to work with the government as this project evolves to ensure the needs and interests of boaters and the recreational boating industry are taken into consideration, and will provide ongoing updates.