Evidence of meeting #91 for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was vessel.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

David Mitchell  Mayor, Town of Bridgewater
Karen Mattatall  Mayor, Town of Shelburne
Dylan Heide  Council-Chief Administrative Officer, Town of Shelburne
Chris Wellstood  Director, Marine Operations and Security, Harbour Master, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority
Bonnie Gee  Vice-President, Chamber of Shipping
Rod Smith  Executive Director, Ladysmith Maritime Society
Terry Teegee  Regional Chief, British Columbia Assembly of First Nations, Co-chair, National Fisheries Committee, Assembly of First Nations

5:35 p.m.

Regional Chief, British Columbia Assembly of First Nations, Co-chair, National Fisheries Committee, Assembly of First Nations

5:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Judy Sgro

It's on to Mr. Chong, for five minutes.

5:35 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Thank you, Madam Chair.

I have questions for the Chamber of Shipping and the Ladysmith Maritime Society. Perhaps I'll start with the Ladysmith Maritime Society.

The Viki Lyne II, I think, was under the 300-tonne threshold the bill has set, and it cost over $1 million—

5:35 p.m.

Executive Director, Ladysmith Maritime Society

Rod Smith

A million and two.

5:35 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

—for it to be removed. The bill requires vessels of 300 gross tonnes or more to have insurance. Do you think that the threshold is too high, or do you think it should be lowered? If it should be lowered, at what level should it be set?

5:35 p.m.

Executive Director, Ladysmith Maritime Society

Rod Smith

Though I'm not an expert in the area of insurance, I think that the 300-tonne limit has been picked for a reason. I think you will probably find that working vessels, fishing boats and tugs, for example, will be carrying insurance for their own reasons. I'm not sure that changing the limit would do much to address that.

5:40 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Okay. Let me ask the question differently then. Do you think that recreational vessels should be mandated to have insurance like they do in Washington state?

5:40 p.m.

Executive Director, Ladysmith Maritime Society

Rod Smith

I think recreational vessels should be treated like vehicles.

5:40 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

In other words, yes, they should have insurance?

5:40 p.m.

Executive Director, Ladysmith Maritime Society

Rod Smith

Yes, they should have insurance and all of the regulations to go along with this, so if you want to have your vessel licensed, you should have to have insurance.

5:40 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Okay, thank you.

For the Chamber of Shipping, do you have any views on the 300-tonne threshold in the bill? The bill says that any vessel of 300 gross tonnes or more must have a certificate of insurance that will cover the cost to clean up its disposal. Do you think that's an appropriate level, or do you think it should be lowered or increased?

5:40 p.m.

Vice-President, Chamber of Shipping

Bonnie Gee

No, I don't think it should be increased, but most commercial vessels, under their commercial insurance policy, will have wreck removal insurance. It's the non-commercial vessels, the pleasure craft. That would apply to any visiting pleasure craft, potentially, over whatever threshold is set. They would have to acquire the necessary insurance before coming to Canada. That might have some impact on tourism or administrative burden for tourism.

5:40 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Back to the Ladysmith Maritime Society, are the vast majority of these vessels adjacent to your marina steel-hauled working vessels?

5:40 p.m.

Executive Director, Ladysmith Maritime Society

Rod Smith

No, actually, the vast majority are pleasure craft.

5:40 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

They're pleasure craft. Are they fibreglass-hauled sailboats, pleasure craft, and power boats?

5:40 p.m.

Executive Director, Ladysmith Maritime Society

Rod Smith

They are. Actually, with the permission of the chair, I did bring a few pictures, which would take about three minutes to go through for the enlightenment of the committee, to see what we're talking about.

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Judy Sgro

Yes, I think that would be helpful for the committee.

5:40 p.m.

Executive Director, Ladysmith Maritime Society

Rod Smith

Thank you.

5:40 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Okay.

Now these are floating, but they're either abandoned or being squatted on.

5:40 p.m.

Executive Director, Ladysmith Maritime Society

Rod Smith

Technically under Bill C-64, they would be called dilapidated. Some in fact are hanging on by a thread, so to speak.

This is a picture of the Ladysmith Community Marina. Our marina is in the front, and the town is in the back.

Here are couple of pictures just to show you what we have.

There's our welcome centre, which is federally and provincially funded.

Here's the approach from the town onto our marina.

We do a number of free festival events for communities. This was an event with marine biologists and divers bringing up specimens under a special licence, for kids to get a glimpse of what's under the water.

We run a program called Dine on the Dock, for which we bring in guest chefs to let people sample their wares. We are a non-profit society, so any money raised goes to the chefs, for example.

This was from Kids' Day. It's actually called Kids' Pirate Day, but we're looking for a new name for that. About 6,000 come down. It's a wonderful family event. Everything is free, and there's a fishing derby to help the Kinsmen.

Next door is water lot 651. This is an early morning shot I took. You can see the smoke over the water. Those are illegal wood stoves. This was about a week ago. It was a strangely cold day in British Colombia, and the wood stoves were fired up. This shows about 15% of what's there.

In this shot with the post in the middle, just at the bottom, you can see some logs in the water. That's the dividing line between our water lots. To the left is our marina, and to the right are the illegally moored boats. There are three tied together, which is typical of rafting by squatters. One will be a living quarter; one might be a sleeping quarter, and one is a storage area.

That's a 90-foot 100-tonne landing craft, a barge, on which a gentleman brings in metal vessels on a regular basis and cuts them up for salvage. Once he's done with them, they seem to disappear in the night. You can see the three rafted boats off to the left as well.

This is an example. In this particular one, there are nine boats rafted together, with two people living on them. When one sinks, they step to another. On the right-hand side, you can see a turquoise sloping vessel. It's actually just held there by the bow rope. It sank.

Here's another example of a typical live-aboard vessel by a squatter. You can see they're just getting onto their boat.

This is another typical example of three rafted together. This is the Viki Lyne II when it had 33,000 litres of oil onboard it. It took the community four years to get rid of it. The boat to the right of it burned. The one to the left of it sank about two months ago.

Here are three. You can see one in the foreground that burnt earlier in the year. One sank beside it, and there's one that's just burned behind it.

Captain Wootton said they had removed seven or so vessels over 18 months. I've seen six burn. I've had too many calls in the middle of the night. I've had too many people who have been threatened by squatters. You can imagine what this does when you have a marina full of visitors and that is what's going on next door.

So to your question, most are pleasure craft, but almost all are dilapidated. I doubt that there's a vessel or two that could safely navigate the waters.

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

I'll just note that the legislation does allow the minister to make regulations to require vessels under 300 tonnes to have insurance, but it's not mandated in the bill. In other words, the bill gives the minister the authority to do that, but the minister doesn't necessarily have to do that. So it's a bit of a question mark about who's going to pay for all of this cleanup. In Washington state, I think they've cleaned up some 750 boats in the last 15 years. It seems to me that across Canada, there are going to be thousands of these boats that need to be cleaned up. The big question I have is if a lot of these boats are small recreational craft vessels, who's going to pay for all this? The abandoned boats program certainly doesn't seem to have sufficient funds to do it, and at some level, I believe that boaters themselves should be paying for the cleanup of these vessels rather than taxpayers in general.

5:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Judy Sgro

Thank you very much, Mr. Chong.

We go to Mr. Hardie, for five minutes.

5:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Thank you to our witnesses.

I'll start with you, Ms. Gee. You mentioned that there are some challenges not dealt with in the legislation. I'm wondering if you could just give us a quick recap of what you see those as being.

5:45 p.m.

Vice-President, Chamber of Shipping

Bonnie Gee

I would think the small boat registry will be a challenge. I think right now there is no real obligation to renew or no way of enforcing who does or does not renew their vessel registry. It's such an extensive coastline that we have, and how do you police something like this? I think it really is important how the authorities are delegated to the communities, to the various municipalities, to enforce compliance with the vessel registry.

February 14th, 2018 / 5:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Very good.

Chief Teegee, we heard from your counterparts in eastern Canada that they're looking at the issue of abandoned and derelict vessels as a commercial opportunity to get involved with the salvage, the breaking up, and basically, the disposing of these. I'm wondering if that's something that's been contemplated by the various indigenous groups along the B.C. coast.