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Environmental response to boat in Roberts Bay receives praise from Sidney

Most of the Maud J remains below water in Roberts Bay Sunday afternoon
The Maud J remains almost completely below the waters of Sidney’s Roberts Bay Sunday afternoon. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

A senior municipal official praised the response of spill experts in responding to a vessel almost completely below the waters of Roberts Bay, but it is not clear when the boat will be removed from the bay.

“The Town of Sidney appreciates the timely response of spill response experts (Tuesday) who took immediate action to limit environmental damage from the sunken vessel,” said Randy Humble, chief administrative officer in statement to Black Press issued Wednesday. “Roberts Bay provides winter habitat for migratory birds in the Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary, and year-round habitat for a variety of wildlife. Various levels of government play a role in protecting this area, as demonstrated by yesterday’s response.”

Humble added that Sidney has designated Roberts Bay as an Environmentally Sensitive Area to ensure greater oversight when landowners plan to undertake any major landscape or building alterations in this area. “Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for the protection of migratory birds and their nests within the Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary,” he said.

RELATED: Sidney owner of sunken vessel in Roberts Bay says he won’t walk away

He made those comments after the Maud J — a 40-foot-long, wooden-hulled vessel built in 1939 — took on water while anchored in Roberts Bay. Her owner — area-resident Joe Quin — had sailed it to the bay from Cowichan Bay when an eye toward hauling it out of the water at Canoe Cove, after having purchased it some three months again in Ladysmith.

Quin told Black Press on Wednesday that he was hoping to remove the vessel by Thursday. “To the public, I want to say I’m really sorry … and I’m doing everything in my power,” said Quin, adding that he has received praise from the Canadian Coast Guard for his efforts to limit environmental damage. The vessel is said to contain 100 litres of diesel. As of Sunday afternoon, most of the vessel still appeared sub-merged.

Volunteers associated with Peninsula Stream Society spent Saturday morning removing debris said to be associated with the vessel.

Black Press has reached out to the owner for additional comment and information.

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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