The BC Nautical Residents Association (BCNRA) has responded to a call from the Ladysmith Harbour Community to advocate on behalf of liveaboards in waterlot 651, the Dogpatch.
“Our concern is when someone stands on shore and looks out on an anchorage like the one in Ladysmith and counts every boat they see out there as a derelict, because they don’t look like somebody’s mega-yacht,” said BCNRA Director Rick Schnurr.
In October, the Town of Ladysmith posted notices on the boats of long term Dogpatch liveaboards, warning that they were in contravention of a municipal bylaw, which allows a maximum seven day stay outside of areas designated as marinas.
The notices said the bylaw would be enforced as of Nov. 15, although Mayor Aaron Stone stated the town does not intend to get heavy handed in its approach.
In response the liveaboards formed the Ladysmith Harbour Community and requested a meeting with Ladysmith Council to work toward resolution of issues.
That meeting took place Nov. 3, but neither the Town of Ladysmith, nor LHC Chairperson Daniel Inkersell has reported on the outcome.
Two BCNRA directors attended the meeting, however, and Schnurr said there is room for optimism.
“I’m very hopeful that the Ladysmith situation can be resolved to everybody’s satisfaction,” he said.
But that will take a lot of give and take.
Giving the boaters notice as of mid-November, when winter storms are beginning to lash the coast, was not a good start, Shnurr said. Nor was a unilateral declaration that applied to everyone, without any consultation.
If there are boat owners causing problems in the Dogpatch, they should be dealt with individually, the whole liveaboard community shouldn’t be tarred with the same brush, he added.
“We’re trying to get the authorities, whoever they are, to deal with the individual offenders who are causing the problems,” Schnurr said.
If waterlot 651 is earmarked for development – the town and the Stz’uminus First Nation have both indicated a marina is planned for the site – accommodation should be made there or elsewhere in the harbour for liveaboards, and until the site is actually needed there is no reason to kick them out Schnurr said.
Schnurr said inexpensive, subsidized moorage might be an option for consideration.