Boat owners need not comply with notices now

North Cowichan has decided to get staff to look into the situation of boats anchored in Bird
North Cowichan has decided to get staff to look into the situation of boats anchored in Bird's Eye Cove further.
— image credit: file

Boat owners in Bird's Eye Cove who received notices from North Cowichan to relocate them or be subjected to a $500 fine by Wednesday do not have to comply after all.

At least, for now.

"The notice which was sent out generated a significant response (Thursday) morning which kept us busy prior to the 1:30 (p.m.) council meeting,'' noted Scott Mack, North Cowichan's director of development services.

About a dozen boat owners turned up at a special meeting pertaining to University Village Thursday and were incorporated onto the agenda, with three allowed to speak on the issue to council.

Robert Munroe, Nicholas Bouchard and Don Bruneski spoke in different ways about the boarding of boats, the lack of consultation with people affected by the action and a willingness to participate in discussions with North Cowichan officials on the topic.

"When they talked about their situation it was pretty clear they weren't actually the issues we were worrying about,'' said North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure.

So it was suggested by staff and council agreed that a proper report needed to be done and brought back to council.

Boat relocation is thus postponed until at least the Aug. 20 meeting when the matter will come up for discussion again, with more detail from a staff report available for consideration.

"I realize this caused some real concerns for legitimate boat owners,'' said Lefebure.

The intent was more to deal with derelicts and live-aboards without proper sewage treatment, Lefebure said, because North Cowichan doesn't want its waters to become a dumping ground.

With that in mind, there could be a compromise coming to the bylaw to make that very distinction.

"I think you have to look for the good sometimes,'' said Lefebure.

"I apologized to the boat owners this came about so coarsely and not properly thought-out. We will try to make it right from here on in.''


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