Premier John Horgan has named the newest member of his caucus, Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson, as special advisor to environment minister George Heyman on marine debris protection.
“Derelict boats and discarded plastics pollute our waterways and put boater safety at risk. Sheila Malcolmson has worked with coastal communities to clean up marine debris and tackle the growing problem of marine plastics,” said Heyman in a release announcing the appointment. “I’m pleased Premier Horgan has asked MLA Malcolmson to work with me to find solutions and help us protect the marine environment that is so valued by British Columbians. My ministry has begun planning measures to further reduce plastic waste and Ms. Malcolmson will play an important role in our work.”
Malcolmson worked on the derelict and abandoned vessels file previously as chair of the Islands Trust and MP for Nanaimo-Ladysmith and sponsored a private members’ bill on the issue during her tenure in Ottawa.
According to the premier, Malcolmson will work under the direction of minister Heyman with the responsibility of making recommendations for a provincial action plan, in co-ordination with the federal government, to eliminate the environmental threats caused by derelict vessels.
Malcolmson is being asked to: Build on existing work and partnerships, collaborate with the federal government on potential development of a boat-licensing program to aid enforcement of regulations for the management of derelict boats; Explore the feasibility of an environmental stewardship program to manage the end-of-life recycling of boats and marine infrastructure, as well as fibreglass and other elements of derelict boats; Study the feasibility of a “cash for clunkers” program for derelict vessels or those at the end of their useful life; And, consider what lessons could be learned from Washington state’s measures to tackle abandoned and derelict vessels.
Malcolmson will also be asked to make recommendations for provincial action to curb the disposal of plastics in the marine environment.