Canadian Shipper


Port Metro Vancouver releases update on progress of Fraser River cleanup program

VANCOUVER, B.C.-Port Metro Vancouver has so far addressed 118 of 151 sites identified in the Fraser River Improvement Initiative, a program to clean up municipal waterways and shipping channels. The update was provided last night to attendees of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities conference in Vancouver, said the port in a release.

Derelict vessels, abandoned boats, and structures like old docks can be safety risks, create pollution, and are unsightly. By law, they are the owner’s responsibility, which can make them difficult to resolve. The resolution of these sites often solve long-standing safety, environmental and community concerns.

The initiative targets neglected vessels and structures that pose risk to wildlife or natural habitats, or impede navigational safety on the Fraser River, such as vessels that are sinking or leaking fuel.

Port Metro Vancouver said it starts by trying to contact owners and, where possible, work with them to ensure safe removal. The port authority has committed approximately $2 million over five years to the initiative, which began in 2013.

“These sites can be an environmental or navigational hazard on the river, and can lessen the quality of life in local communities,” said Tom Corsie, Vice President of Real Estate at Port Metro Vancouver.

“We are proud of the progress we’ve made in improving the river and ensuring owners take appropriate responsibility for their vessels or property.”

Recent sites that have been addressed under the program include several vessels on the shores of the Annacis Channel in New Westminster, such as an abandoned catamaran and power boat that were embedded in the shore, causing considerable public concern and creating the potential for environmental damage. Another resolved site required removal of piles in Gunderson Slough in Delta, ultimately benefitting the intertidal marsh habitat in the area, navigation and public safety.