Victoria is pushing ahead with bylaw changes to prohibit overnight anchoring in the Gorge Waterway despite some councillors’ concerns that the move will eliminate recreational boating options. The city has been working to find a way to deal with about a dozen boats, some derelict, anchored just northwest of the Selkirk Trestle off Banfield Park.
The Gorge has multi-hulled boats tied to older pleasure boats and retired fishing boats. Many of the derelict boats are unoccupied, covered in tarps, held together with plywood and are littered with junk. Weeds hang from the mooring lines.
Richard Hartwick, 58, lives on a 40-foot sailboat anchored off Banfield Park when he’s not working in Alberta. He’s one of people who will be affected by the proposed Victoria bylaw. “I liked the life when there were only a few people here,” said Hartwick in an interview aboard his boat. “All the people down at that (south) end are into drugs and stealing and stuff.”
Victoria council is pushing ahead with the bylaw after residents complained about derelict boats, dumping of sewage and noise. Although Hartwick’s boat has sewage holding tanks other residents who don’t have tanks for sewage are using the Gorge as a toilet. Hartwick urges the city to ban boats that don’t have running engines or holding tanks. “We should keep nice boats here,” he said.