Harbledown Island is located near Broughton Archipelago Marine Park in the Central Coast of B.C. Without resources to dispose an old boat docked at Harbledown Island, First Nation guardians are worried about environmental consequences in the event it sinks. (Google maps)

Old boat docked near Harbledown Island raises environmental concerns for B.C. First Nations

Guardian watchmen have asked province to help dispose the boat before it sinks and causes problems for nearby sensitive habitats

An old commercial fishing seine boat docked at Harbledown Island in the Central Coast of B.C. has raised environmental concerns for Da’naxda’xw Nation and Mamalilikulla First Nations.

The boat, Cape Chacon, built in 1949, belongs to Bruce Glendale and his family from Da’naxda’xw Nation who have been looking at options to dispose of it since it began falling apart.

But since Glendale did not have resources to dispose of it, he reached out to neighbouring Mamalilikulla guardian watchman Jake Smith who was conducting a beach clean up by moving all the derelict boats from their traditional territories.

Smith didn’t have the equipment to keep the vessel afloat, nor any environmental booms to contain oil spills in the event that happened. So he notified provincial authorities, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the Nanwakolas council to look into the matter “urgently.”

He told the authorities the old boat is no longer safe to run, is in very poor condition, and is just sitting there at the dock and taking on water.

Cape Chacon built in 1949 is now docked at Harbledown Island.(Submitted Photo)

The vessel still has two big diesel fuel tanks, one hydraulic tank, one main engine and an auxiliary engine; however, the amount of diesel fuel and hydraulics in the tank is unknown.

Both Smith and Glendale realized the vessel is a disaster waiting to happen and its proximity to sensitive habitats in the vicinity only increases the urgency of the matter. It is docked very close to the border of the Broughton Archipelago Marine Park and other Mamalilikulla territories like Alder Island, Berry Island and Swanson Island.

“It is only a matter to time when this vessel will sink and we will have a big environmental problem on our hands,” said Smith.

He said that if the vessel sinks it could destroy the nearby clam beds as well as archaeological sites, secret burial sites of the First Nations in the vicinity. It also poses a threat to the marine like and food fish of the First Nations.

“We have Orca whales and humpback whales that swim through this pass and we also have commercial crab fishermen working in these areas right now. In addition if the beaches are contaminated then the bears can’t eat mussels and barnacles and other marine life that they use to survive.”

Smith is yet to receive any reply from provincial authorities.

READ ALSO: First Nation’s guardians ‘take matters into their own hands’ and organize environmental clean-up


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