BC Chamber Of Commerce Unanimously Endorses Abandoned Vessel Solutions

Sheila Malcolmson, Member of Parliament for Nanaimo—Ladysmith applauds the Nanaimo and Ladysmith Chambers of Commerce for their leadership on getting abandoned vessels solutions endorsed at the BC Chamber of Commerce annual conference. The convention urged the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia to implement coastal community solutions to solve the longstanding problem of abandoned vessels.

“There remains no comprehensive strategy and jurisdiction that requires the removal and/or recycling of abandoned vessels before they become serious environmental or navigational hazards.” The Transport Minister’s “Bill C-64 does not adequately address jurisdictional gaps and may continue to leave coastal communities and taxpayers with the burden of dealing with abandoned vessels.[ …]To date, local governments, First Nations, marinas, port operators, taxpayers, and businesses are still calling for action.” (excerpt from BC Chamber of Commerce background on abandoned vessel resolution).

The abandoned vessel resolution, passed unanimously, was one of 52 voted on by the Chamber’s membership of 125 Chambers of Commerce and 36,000 businesses at its annual conference from May 24 to May 26 in Kamloops. The resolution will be considered at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting in September 2018.

“I’m grateful the Chamber’s powerful voice is being applied to this vital issue, pressing for abandoned vessel solutions that protect coastal ecology, jobs, and recycling innovation,” said NDP MP Sheila Malcolmson. “Coastal communities in British Columbia have been sounding the alarm for decades, but after years of neglect, the Trudeau government hasn’t legislated the solutions needed to deal with the backlog of abandoned boats.”

Malcolmson had proposed the same solutions in federal legislation over a year ago, which she built based on repeated policy resolutions from coastal communities and the Union of BC Municipalities. Her bill was blocked by the majority Liberal government in December 2017.

The resolution was seconded by the Campbell River Chamber of Commerce, Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce, Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce and the Saanich Chamber of Commerce. The resolution calls on:

The Federal government:

  1. Designate Coast Guard as the agency responsible for directing the removal and recycling of abandoned vessels;
  2. Improve vessel registration so that owners can be held accountable;
  3. Fund a study of the Washington State model of fee collection for the costs of disposal of abandoned and wrecked vessels on the West Coast; and
  4. Create a pilot “turn-in” program for safe disposal and recycling of abandoned vessels.

The Provincial government:

  1. Work with the Federal Government in the development of a West Coast wide strategy in cooperation with First Nations and local governments to build a comprehensive strategy and regulatory framework for addressing the financial and environmental risks of abandoned vessels.

Additional Quotes:
“Chambers of Commerce from around BC unanimously voted to adopt the policy resolution on abandoned vessels. We look forward to the BC and Canadian Chambers adding this to their government advocacy and lobbying package in the coming year. Many thanks to supporting Chambers from all over Vancouver Island and our policy partners in Ladysmith.”
-Kim Smythe, CEO of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce

“Ladysmith has seen our fair share of issues related to abandoned and derelict vessels. In 2017 alone a 40 foot and a 90 foot boat sank, both leaking oil into our harbour, while a third boat burned to the waterline. Comprehensive legislation to protect our coastal communities is vital and urgent and we are excited that the BC Chamber of Commerce has agreed and accepted our policy on abandoned vessels.”
-Mark Drysdale, Manager of the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce

Additional Information:
Link to MP Malcolmson asking Minister Garneau in Parliament today if the government will implement the BC Chamber of Commerce recommendations: https://youtu.be/059Q_PLbuRU