Abandoned boat owners face Jan. 21 deadline to come forward

The District of Sechelt and Transport Canada have given the owners of five boats in Porpoise Bay until Jan. 21 to “reclaim” and take responsibility for their abandoned vessels.

Legal notices, published recently in Coast Reporter, include pictures and descriptions of the boats and warn that the next step could be “to take possession of, permanently remove, and dispose of the vessel.”

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The five boats in question include a partially sunken cabin cruiser.

The legal notices are a mandatory step under the federal government’s Abandoned Boats Program, which provided $70,000 last year to the District of Sechelt to assess more than a dozen boats in Porpoise Bay that have been the focus of complaints from mariners and the general public, in some cases for years.

One of the most visible of the cluster of problem boats in the area, the 30-metre (100-foot) cruiser Gulfstream II, sank Sept. 7, 2018 and remains on the bottom.

Sechelt communications manager Julie Rogers told Coast Reporter this week that, so far, nobody has come forward to claim ownership of any of the boats. Rogers said the district will be able to apply to Transport Canada to take possession of the boats once the deadline passes, but would still have to apply to the federal government for funding to cover the cost of removing them.

The hope is to be in a position to do that sometime in the spring.

The Pender Harbour Advisory Council has also received $25,000 to assess five abandoned boats, including what the group has called “the two most objectionable and long-standing examples of derelict boats,” the Lulu Island and the Kwatna in Garden Bay.

So far, though, no local organizations have received funding for vessel removals.

The federal government’s third call for proposals for assessment and removals under the Abandoned Boats Program ends March 31.

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