Tim Collins/News staff
Issues surrounding Brentwood Bay continue to dog Central Saanich after a 119 page staff memorandum in December of last year raised a multitude of issues regarding the scenic waterfront. In response the municipality is hosting stakeholder meetings to better define the priorities surrounding the issues.
On Monday, the latest in a series of meetings took place at the Brentwood Bay Cultural Centre and attracted more than 50 concerned residents. The attendees had the opportunity to learn about the full scope of the issues surrounding Brentwood Bay and some of the hurdles to immediate action that make tackling the plethora of issues involved in a difficult task.
According to the December staff memorandum, it’s the sheer number of vessels using the scenic waterfront that lies at the heart of virtually all the concerns on the bay. Beyond that, it’s the quality of some of those watercraft and the behaviour of their owners that raises the hackles of area residents.
The aesthetic concern has long been an issue as area residents have complained that the tattered tarps, boats rafted with other objects and the general disrepair of some of the boats combine to diminish the resident’s view and enjoyment of the bay.
The congestion of the bay, as scores of larger vessels use the sheltered waters of the bay to moor their vessels when not in use and others are used as live aboard accommodations, has been raised as a concern by smaller watercraft enthusiasts. Those residents, who use craft such as kayaks, canoes, rowboats, paddleboards and sailing dinghies, have called for either a reduction of the number of boats allowed moorage in the bay (a matter of federal jurisdiction for short term moorage) or the establishment of clear navigation channels through the area.
Perhaps the most pressing concern, however is environmental, including: the inadvertent or deliberate dumping of garbage by boat owners; derelict or inadequately fastened boats or other floating objects (sections of dock floats,barrels, etc.) which may break loose in storms; derelict or abandoned vessels sinking when unattended; improper maintenance polluting the water (e.g. paint scraping and sanding, spills of fuel and oil); and, untreated sewage dumped by boats including live-aboards.
That issue was peripherally touched on at council’s last meeting when Anglers Anchorage Marina’s approached council for an unrelated building permit. Concerns were raised in the belief that the marina did not have a pump-out station and was part of the problem.
“We put that to rest very quickly. We have full pump out facilities open to everyone, and during a brief construction period we’ve contracted JR Pump Out to come and do the job until our renovation is complete,” said Lorna Morrison, the manager of the marina, adding that the marina is nearing full accreditation as a fully green facility.
Councillor Niall Paltiel, who was at Monday’s information session, explained that before any action plan for the bay is proposed, it’s important to gather the viewpoints and concerns of area residents.
“We’ve hosted a number of meetings now and this consultation process will be ending on August 31. Everything we’ve heard will be compiled and council will be considering what the next steps should be at the September 25 meeting. It’s a complex issue with a number of jurisdictions involved and anything we do here can also impact our neighbours so we want to approach this in a thoughtful and informed manner,” said Paltiel.