Tim Collins /News staff
The District of Central Saanich council is asking for help in identifying and prioritizing issues in the waters of Brentwood Bay.
The move comes in response to issues first raised at council in January of 2017 and arising, in part, from what some believe has been a shifting of the problem of derelict boats by causing those vessels to migrate to Brentwood Bay from the Gorge Waterway where the City of Victoria last year took steps to evict the offending vessels.
Although Mayor Ryan Windsor acknowledges the Gorge cleanup may have played some small part in the current situation at Brentwood Bay, he was quick to point out that the problems in Brentwood Bay are far more complex and wide ranging than a simple shifting of a problem from one municipality to the next.
“Brentwood Bay is an area of relatively calm water and has always attracted a large number of vessels. It’s important to realize that only a small percentage of them are what would be considered derelict. The issue has more to do with the fact that there are more boats on the water, marinas can be expensive and are often overcrowded, and boat owners are looking for alternatives like mooring buoys to address the situation,” said Windsor.
“It’s only natural that an area like Brentwood Bay would be attractive to those boaters.”
He added that the increase in boat traffic has led to other issues like the dumping of garbage and raw sewage by some boats, the ability for boats to safely navigate the crowded waters, the noise inherent with the increased traffic and the peripheral effect of on-land parking on the streets near the docks.
“We’ve been looking at some solutions already, but we really want to know from our residents what they consider to be the highest priority for council to address.”
To that end, the District has launched a web page wherein residents can take a survey on what they regard as the main issues in Brentwood Bay and enter into a discussion forum where they can voice concerns and share ideas through PlaceSpeak site.
“It’s a way for us to get as much information and feedback as possible in a fairly short period of time, and will help us to present council with information on some of the core causes of a variety of issues. A lot of them may have the same root causes and that would help us determine where we need to be concentrating our efforts first,” said Ruth Malli, media spokesperson for Central Saanich.
According to Windsor, the situation is complex and looking for easy answers is probably not the right approach. By quickly engaging the public and identifying the root causes for the situation, Central Saanich has the opportunity to truly address the issues in a thoughtful and effective manner.
The survey and access to the PlaceSpeak site can be found by following the links at centralsaanich.ca.