It’s been sitting in the Ladysmith Harbour for nearly two years, and this month, the derelict barge that had been beached near Slack Point was finally removed.
The provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations spent the week of Dec. 16 dismantling the barge. It is one of five pieces of Second World War-era dry dock that sat in the Chemainus Harbour, a remnant of the breakwater project tied to the failed Chemainus Quay and Marina, and it had been towed to Slack Point by Transport Canada in March 2012. Three of those barges sunk in the Chemainus Harbour in 2012, and one is still floating.
Scott Allen of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, project supervisor for the barge disposal, says the first phase of the removal of the derelict barge in Ladysmith is complete, and the rest of the disposal is expected to be finished in the new year.
“The barge is now completely out of the water, and the materials are all on dry land,” he said on Dec. 23.
Allen says the barge is mostly made of wood, steel and concrete, and ministry staff have been separating the materials so they can dispose of them. All of the garbage and other refuse has been removed and disposed of.
On Dec. 23, they had separated about 80 per cent of the concrete from the wood, taken out the steel and taken all the metal to be recycled.
That leaves a main pile of wood debris on land, and Allen says the ministry has a few options for disposal.
“There will be a wood debris pile, and what happens next is we try to reduce the amount of debris you pay to get rid of at cost,” he explained, noting one way to reduce the volume of wood is to shred it. “We will make efforts to reduce the volume of the material that will be disposed of.”
Allen says they will put safety fencing around the woody debris pile, and in the new year, they will take steps to dispose of the debris.
“When we determine the volume, we’ll choose where it will go,” he explained.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is paying for the disposal.
Allen isn’t certain if there was any one particular trigger for dismantling and disposing of the barge at this point in time.
“It’s a step toward cleaning up the harbour,” he said. “Phase one is done, the barge is out of the water, and phase two is underway.”
Allen believes the ministry does not have any immediate plans to deal with the barge that remains in the Chemainus Harbour.