Second barge sinks in Chemainus harbour

Transport Canada is dealing with one of Chemainus Bay
Transport Canada is dealing with one of Chemainus Bay's derelict barges that sunk last week, joining one barge already on the bottom.
— image credit: Peter W. Rusland

The ongoing saga of the barges squatting in Chemainus harbour continues.

In January, one of five barges originally brought in by the developers of the Chemainus Quay and Marina Complex sunk to the bottom of the harbour.

But despite a removal order from Transport Canada in February, the barges have continued to bob in the bay — until now.

"On Wednesday, Transport Canada responded immediately to the reports that (one of) the barge(s) was in danger of sinking," Transport Canada's Jillian Glover explained on Friday afternoon.

"Arrangements were made to have the barge pumped out as soon as possible. We are currently monitoring the situation and assessing what action needs to be taken."

Glover said a notice warning boaters in the area of additional debris as a result of the sinking of the barge was also issued.

"The Navigable Waters Protection Act allows Transport Canada to order an owner to adequately mark and/or remove an anchored/sunken vessel that is obstructing navigation," Glover said in an email to the News Leader Pictorial. "Failure to respond means Transport Canada may mark or remove the obstruction and recover costs from the owner. Transport Canada considers the barge owner responsible."

But Glover also noted that while the province and Transport Canada have explored disposal options, she says traditional disposal options "are not feasible at this time."

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