Feb 19, 2021

Town applies for federal funding to further cleanup of derelict vessels

The Town of Ladysmith and Stz’uminus First Nation have jointly applied for $3.5-million in federal funding to remove derelict and sunken vessels from the harbour as we make progress on the implementation of the Waterfront Area Plan.

The grant application was submitted earlier this week to Transport Canada’s Coast, Clean Waters Initiative Fund.

The Town and Stz’uminus are proposing to remove sunken and derelict surface vessels, as well as complete any shoreline cleanup required to facilitate this environmental remediation work.

Divers contracted by the Town recently completed a preliminary scan of District Water Lot 651 adjacent to Ladysmith Community Marina, commonly referred to as Dogpatch. The preliminary search, which involved only a small area of the water lot , turned up 24 sunken vessels.

“Ladysmith Council remains committed to the ongoing environmental remediation of the harbour as we continue to explore opportunities to work together with Stz’uminus First Nation and our community partners,” said Mayor Aaron Stone. “The removal of dozens of derelict vessels polluting our coastal waters here in Ladysmith will breathe new life into our shared community vision for the waterfront as we support habitat restoration and the creation of new amenities that will drive economic development in our area.”

A Transport Canada inventory of District Water Lot 651 completed in 2014 identified 43 ‘vessels of concern’ – vessels classified as derelict and/or abandoned.  It’s currently unknown how many of these vessels remain afloat in the harbour since the collection of this data.

In recent years, the Town of Ladysmith received funding through Transport Canada’s first round of the Abandoned Boats Program to remove several beached vessels from the shoreline.

The Town, Stz’uminus First Nation and the Ladysmith Maritime Society also successfully lobbied the Federal Government for the removal of the Viki Lyne II from Ladysmith Harbour.

The successful receipt of the full funding request by the Town and Stz’uminus First Nation will set the foundation for a full cleanup, including a mapping of all vessels on the harbour bottom. 

The Waterfront Area Plan describes the cultural importance of the harbour to the Stz’uminus First Nation and the shared vision for restoration and regeneration of ecological networks.

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