Derelict boat being removed from Saanich beach after eight months

Province has agreed to pick up a portion of the $5,000 to $6,000 cost

The 25-foot sailboat Odin is lifted by crane from Cadboro Bay beach on Tuesday. Saanich crews and the crane contractor stationed the crane on Killarney Road. The cost of removal was estimated at about $5

The 25-foot sailboat Odin is lifted by crane from Cadboro Bay beach on Tuesday. Saanich crews and the crane contractor stationed the crane on Killarney Road. The cost of removal was estimated at about $5

The time has come for a 25-foot fibreglass sailboat called the Odin to be removed from Cadboro Bay beach.

Odin has sat close to the Cadboro-Gyro Park section of the beach since it washed up during a storm in early March.

Saanich plans to send in a crane on Tuesday to lift it out from the end of Killarney Road. From there it would go straight to the landfill.

The estimated cost is about $5,000 to $6,000. However, the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resources has committed to chipping in a portion of the amount, said Harley Machielse, director of Saanich Engineering.

“We don’t know the final amount the province will kick in yet,” Machielse said. “The funding is specific to this boat only.”

The Odin is the only boat on the Saanich portion of Cadboro Bay beach while several derelict vessels remain farther down the beach in Oak Bay territory. Those boats continue to break down, including a burnt barge and the skeleton of a boat that is all but buried in the sand.

The Odin is left over from last year’s storm season when about a dozen boats washed up on local beaches. By this time in 2015 Saanich had already dealt with numerous abandoned vessels, while this is the first of the 2016-17 winter, at least that Machielse knows of.

“We’re fortunate so far, we haven’t had any boats this season that we’ve had to deal with ourselves. There may have been some that owners dealt with themselves.”

Machielse is only hoping the worst of the storm season has passed, or that sailors have learned it is tough to secure a strong anchor on the sandy floors of Caddy Bay. Saanich spent $50,000 removing abandoned boats over the winter of 2015-16, mostly from Caddy Bay, though there was also a catamaran buoyed at Curtis Point in the Gorge.

“My guess is we’ll probably accumulate costs again for another season, we just don’t have a budget to remove boats,” Machielse said.

Cadboro Bay Residents Association president Eric Dahli is thrilled to see the Odin removed.

“It’s really good news to have a derelict boat taken away, and that Saanich isn’t paying for all of it,” said Dahli. “Now it’s time to talk to our fiends in Oak Bay and see if we can clear up some of the boats on their end of the beach.”

Earlier this year Nanaimo MP Sheila Malcolmson’s Bill C-219 was introduced in the House of Commons. It would essentially broaden the Coast Guard’s mandate to deal with abandoned vessels as the ‘Receiver of Wrecks,’ a stage in the process that can take months to clear.

The bill would basically clear up the confusion around who is responsible and to make the Coast Guard a one-stop shop for dealing with abandoned vessels. It will be debated sometime next year.