The City of Victoria will be seeking an injunction next month to remove abandoned and derelict boats from the Gorge Waterway.
In recent months, the city has been preparing an application to remove the roughly 17 vessels illegally moored in the Gorge, and will be heading to B.C. Supreme Court the week of Sept. 11.
“It’s been a long time coming and it’s taken a lot to get prepared for the court case. We feel like there’s a good chance of success, but you never know and it will be before the courts very soon,” said Mayor Lisa Helps.
“Council’s responsibility is always the greater good, and the greater good in this case is preserving the ecological integrity of that waterway and that sensitive ecosystem.”
The move comes after the city issued several rounds of notices, mainly in the fall of last year, warning vessel owners that they’re in contradiction of bylaws that limit long-term mooring to a maximum of 48 hours and no more than 72 hours in a 30-day period.
Eight of the roughly two dozen boats that have been illegally moored for years have been voluntarily moved and one was removed after a fire. While the city has not seen an increase in vessels since then, 17 remain.
The boats have sparked several complaints about leaking sewage, oil, fuel, noise and garbage since they aren’t hooked up to proper services.
“We’re moving ahead through the courts … We’ve been waiting to get the court time and the right amount of court time, which is in part why there’s been a bit of a delay,” said city clerk Chris Coates.
While Coates expects there will be some push back from residents, he anticipates the injunction will be successful. If it is granted, vessel owners will be responsible for removing boats shortly after.
Coates estimates it will cost roughly five figures to seek an injunction for all the vessels.
The issue of illegally moored boats is also a problem in Cadboro and Brentwood bays, and is one the Capital Regional District is hoping to tackle. On Wednesday, the board voted to seek just over $1 million in federal funding to remove the boats.