Brentwood Bay in Winter

Roundtable on Marine Matters

Photo by Izzy Edey

MP Elizabeth May (Saanich Gulf Islands) and MLA Adam Olsen (Saanich North and the Islands) arranged and ran a Roundtable on Marine Matters in Sidney Tuesday Jan 16th. SIPS was represented by President Ian Cameron and Vice President Michael Simmons.

Subjects discussed included: Mooring Buoys, Freighter Anchorages, Derelict Vessels, Shellfish Harvesting and Ganges Harbour. SIPS has advocated for action on the connected issues of mooring buoys and derelict vessels for many years. Freighter anchorages and Shellfish harvesting have been discussed at several Roundtable organised by SIPS in the last several years. The fifty or so attendees represented many sections of society, including First Nations, and many geographies.

We discussed the Management Plan for Brentwood Bay which had to be shelved after the Province offered unacceptable terms to the District of Central Saanich. To see the plan click here. Coastal management is an issue in many coastal bays, Various approaches were discussed including:

  • Local governments going alone,
  • Requesting Transport Canada to resume enforcement of mooring buoy regulations,
  • Requesting both Provincial and Federal governments to “enable” local governments to lead management of local bays and harbours,
  • Establishing effective funding for removal of vessels of concern,
  • Amending criteria for abandoned and derelict vessels to enable more prompt and effective action to remove these vessels, and
  • Creating collaborative arrangements between local governments, First Nations and senior governments for coastal waters management.

Both Adam and Elizabeth cautioned that constitutional change was not going to happen and pledged to champion solutions within the existing jurisdictional arrangements.

Pauquachin First Nation presented work on ensuring clean water for shellfish in Coles Bay and re-opening the shellfishery. They suggested their work could provide a template for other bays not only on the Peninsula but throughout coastal BC. We will feature their work in a future newsletter.

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