District of North Vancouver will consult with the community on creating a designated anchorage area for boats and a pump-out facility in Deep Cove following on-going concerns about liveaboards and derelict vessels in the area.
In a report to the council, David Stuart, the Chief Administrative Officer for DNV, said the community had expressed concerns about increasing number of such vessels. The concerns include spills and waste from the boats and potential for boats to break free from anchorage and either breach or damage other vessels and infrastructure such as docks.
In the summer months, there was the issue of overcrowding given the limited space in the cove, he said. There were also objections from waterfront residents about the “aesthetics” of boats in an unmanaged anchorage area.
Stuart began with a caveat that this was a complex issue with several federal institutions and legislations involved. Still, he said, the council could take steps to improve the situation.
In response to similar complaints, Port Moody has established a designated boat anchorage area that allows 20 vessels for up to three weeks within a 40-day period. Boats anchored within the designated area must register with the city and pay a nominal fee of $12 per night.
Stuart suggested a different approach.
“Rather than Port Moody’s approach, which allows extensive stays where they can actually accommodate up to 26 boats with no buoys. I suggest just four buoys with a 48-hour limit for stay in a month. I also suggest a pump-out station but there is the question of funding and where that is to be located.”
Stuart acknowledged, however, that anchorage area in Deep Cove would present challenges that didn’t exist in Port Moody. He said the area in the cove was smaller, a pump-out facility wasn’t available, and except for areas closer to the shoreline, the depth was generally not conducive to anchorage. There is also community opposition to the idea of anchorage, he noted.
Those issues, he said, could be resolved by using moorage buoys, limiting the number of vessels and time allowed and creating a new pump-out facility at the dock.
Deep Cove resident Mike Perreten said he and his daughter recently got an infection after swimming on a local beach. “It’s not right and this needs to be addressed. The situation is getting worse and it is not fair. It’s a health issue. We don’t feel good about swimming there,” he told the council.
Those who live on the boats shouldn’t be painted with the same brush, said Grant Drummond, who spends two months on his boat in Deep Cove.
Drummond said he regularly pumped out the sewage at the nearest marina, adding that people who lived on the boats were being unfairly tarnished. “These guys are being pinned as polluters, but they live on the water and they have chosen to make it their home. These guys are gainfully employed. They are not homeless bums,” he said.
Councillor Lisa Muri said the Deep Cove has had this issue for decades now, adding that the beach had to be closed several times because of high E.coli levels. “We need a pump-out station. It is so overdue it’s ridiculous,” she said.
Muri suggested that staff house a public information meeting in Deep Cove to begin the discussion with the community.
The district will soon start a public consultation on the possibility of anchorage and pump-out station.