High winds brought in a raft of garbage and boats alike from Cadboro Bay, and now high tides are keeping Oak Bay staff and resident volunteers from cleaning most of it up.
Amongst some of the trash that Oak Bay staff cleaned up two weeks ago were pieces of boats and eight red gas cans, some of them still containing fuel, others empty.
“We took out a whack of stuff, which was what we could pack out [considering the steep stair climb] up Hibbens Close,” said Park Services manager Chris Hyde-Lay.
As soon as a tidal window opens up, an Oak Bay Parks crew will enter the beach from Saanich’s Cadboro-Gyro beach with a tractor and trailer to pull the rest of the garbage out, including a couch-chair.
As far as the six boats that sunk and washed up on shore in January, Eric Dahli of the Cadboro Bay Residents Association said their future is still unknown.
There has been talk of attempts being made to salvage two of the boats but nothing has worked yet.
In 2017 a 40-person volunteer team led the beginning of a major cleanup on both the Saanich and Oak Bay sides of Cadboro Bay’s beaches. And it was exactly a year ago that John Roe of the Veins of Life Watershed Society and Dead Boat Disposal led the exhumation of three boats from their watery graves in Caddy Bay.
Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch said this might be a year that council approves a line item in the budget towards removing marine detritus from Caddy Bay beach. However, the responsibility for derelict and abandoned boats remains a provincial and federal one, he said.
“One of the problems is a lot of these boats are already derelict at their buoys, at their moorings, so that by the time they reach the shore they are a wreck,” Murdoch said. “So we need a preventative system that deals with this ahead of time.”
“It’s as bad as it’s been since the big cleanup of 2017,” Dahli said. “There’s been the odd [wreck], but this has really brought it back to mind.
“We’re contemplating some more preventative work, such as leaving notices on people’s boats.”
Dahli said that all boats should have a phone number visible on the boat that matches a phone number on the buoy.
“One of the things we’ve discovered is there are people using buoys that aren’t theirs, and owners aren’t aware, which is an issue that we’ll have to address,” Dahli said.