The City of Victoria will likely seek an injunction to remove the remaining boats still anchored on the Gorge Waterway in the new year.
According to Mayor Lisa Helps, the city will probably apply for an injunction from the B.C. Supreme Court “soon” in 2017 to remove the 18 vessels still floating in the waterway.
“There are a number that are vacant and clearly derelict, and either have been removed or will be removed by the city and then there are those who aren’t moving,” she said.
“The next step that was clearly outlined since we revised the strategy in April is the city will seek an injunction to move them.”
In October, the city issued a second and final round of notices to those still anchored in the Gorge, reminding owners they are occupying the province-owned area contrary to the city’s zoning regulation bylaw that allows anchoring for a period of up to 48 hours, but not exceeding 72 total hours in a 30-day period.
Since then seven vessels have been removed voluntarily, but 18 still remain, about seven to nine of which are live aboard or frequently occupied.
The issue of derelict boats in the Gorge Waterway has plagued the city for years. A number of boats and floating vessels have been permanently anchored near Banfield Park, sparking complaints from residents about leaking sewage, oil, fuel, noise and garbage.
Other municipalities, such as the District of Saanich, have been watching the situation closely, in fear the boats will just relocate to another waterway in the region if they’re forced to move. But Helps said the city is looking at a more regional strategy with the Capital Regional District to deal with the vessels.
“We can remove them off the Gorge and they’re just going to go up to Brentwood Bay. We need to find a balance. We are a maritime community. We can’t have boats nowhere, boats and live aboards are part of our maritime culture, but it needs to be done in such a way that it’s regulated and also not detrimental to the environment,” she said, noting the CRD plans on pushing the federal government for financial help with the matter.
“We need to be sensitive to the displacement issue both for people who are living on the boats, but also so we can get an injunction and make sure people don’t just sail off to the next municipality.”