The province is investigating the placement of 33 Styrofoam-and-cement docks on Anvil Island after a large number of them broke up in heavy storms, spreading debris across a wide swath of Howe Sound.
Originally purchased from Thunderbird Marine in West Vancouver for a nominal fee, the docks were towed to the west side of Anvil Island and stored without the required permission from the province, Brennan Clarke, a spokesman for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, said in an email.
A significant amount of material remains on the site, Clarke said.
“Staff have issued a trespass notice giving the owner approximately two weeks to clean up the remaining material. The owner has indicated a willingness to undertake this work as soon as possible,” he said. “If the owner fails to take action, the province has the power to levy a fine of up to $1,000 and/or clean up the debris on the owner’s behalf and seek repayment of those costs.”
The Ministry is conducting the investigation under Section 60 of the Land Act, which addresses the unauthorized use of Crown land.
Provincial officials are also consulting Environ-ment Canada “to ascertain whether any aspects of this matter fall under federal jurisdiction,” Clarke said.
Federal communications officials contacted by Coast Reporter were unable to say at press time whether the marine debris cleanup fell under the responsibility of Environment Canada, Transport Canada or the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The provincial Ministry of Environment had previously deemed it “a federal matter.”
The issue came to light earlier this month when Squamish boater John Buchanan discovered the docks had broken up, scattering Styrofoam debris along the west side of Anvil Island, the north shore of Gambier Island and south of McNab Creek.
Using his GPS, Buchanan said he identified about 15 large sections of Styrofoam blocks, “covered in a thick coating of concrete,” floating on the surface of Howe Sound, including one as big as a truck.