The City of Victoria is getting set to crack down on abandoned and illegal boats that have been sitting in the Gorge Waterway for years.
Last week, the city posted follow up notices on vessels and wharves anchored in the Gorge, reminding owners that they are occupying the area contrary to the city’s zoning regulation bylaw, which limits long-term mooring to a maximum of 48 hours and no more than 72 hours in a 30-day period.
The notices ask that all vessels and wharves be removed by Friday, Oct. 28. A previous notice was issued in mid-June, requesting boats and vessels be removed from the waterway by July 18. So far, only three vessels have voluntarily left the area.
According to the city, there are currently more than 24 vessels and four floating wharves illegally situated in the area near the Selkirk Trestle and seven of them are used as residences. As a result, the city is working with Pacifica Housing to find the residents alternate housing.
If owners don’t voluntarily remove their vessels and wharves after Friday, however, the city will begin enforcement to remove them and seek an injunction (a court order from the B.C. Supreme Court) if necessary.
City council has approved up to $120,000 for enforcement of the Gorge Waterway and is currently working with a local company to remove two sunken vessels from the area.
The boats have sparked several complaints about leaking sewage, oil, fuel, noise and garbage since they aren’t hooked up to proper services.
In 2013, Victoria council began floating a plan to deal with the boats, but ran into a number of hurdles.