Once again, the community has pulled together to remove a boat from local waters.
The link between the effort to remove the M.V. Pursupa from the Campbell River estuary and the extraction of a boat from the mouth of Simms Creek four years ago is Mike Gage who organized both recoveries. Gage’s dedication to local fishery causes should be greatly appreciated by the community because, frankly, no other official body takes responsibility for these incidents. If a vessel comes to rest, shall we say, in local waters and poses no direct environmental threat (leaking fuel or the like) then there is no agency charged with removing the unsightly debris.
While shipwrecks hold a near-romantic aura, busted up boats littering sensitive waterways hold no such nostalgic claim on our imaginations. They’re just pure and simply a mess and an eyesore. And the owners don’t seem to have any legal obligation to remove them.
Thanks to Gage and the people and businesses he enlisted to help him, we have twice now had abandoned boats cleaned up because locals took action.
Also, a guarded thanks can be extended to city council for coming up with $3,500 to help with the costs but this is not something taxpayers really want to see. It’s not the city’s job to clean up provincial or federal waterways. Again, you have to appreciate that council got involved because nobody else will but this could set a precedent that could start to get costly. Will the city now pay to remove sea lion or whale carcasses that wash up on the beach?
Every time a carcass, be it a sea mammal or a boat, washes up on shore, people call for someone to take action on it. Luckily, in Campbell River, we have people who care about our marine environment and take it upon themselves to do the clean up. But this happens often enough that the province should have some contingency in place for it.
Instead of the city. And Mike Gage.