Brian Thacker is disappointed that a proposal from Cowichan Bay’s Pacific Industrial & Marine, in partnership with Cowichan Tribes, didn’t receive any funding from the province to clear derelict boats from local waters.
The province announced on April 28 that it was providing $4.5 million in funding from its Clean Coast, Clean Waters Initiative to a number of organizations on Vancouver Island who have partnered with local First Nations to help them deal with derelict boats and shoreline debris along the B.C. coastline.
Thacker, who owns PIM, which has a long history of removing sunken or abandoned vessels from local waters, was approached by Cowichan Tribes late last year to partner with them to apply for funding from the program, and he has been working hard since then to prepare to move forward if the funding application was successful.
“We hired a lot of people, including a biologist, and spent $7,000 doing surveys of Cowichan Bay, Maple Bay and Genoa Bay to determine how many derelict vessels are out there, and there are dozens that we have located,” he said.
“We put a lot of effort into it and never got a thing, other than a letter saying they regret to inform us that were not chosen for funding with no explanations. I think they started the application process without knowing what they were after. It’s very disappointing.”
The Salish Sea Indigenous Marine Stewardship Project received $2 million of the funding, according to the announcement on April 28, which it will put toward removing 100 derelict boats from the Salish Sea around southern Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands.
The Coastal Restoration Society received $2.1 million and will partner with 10 First Nations to clean up 200 to 400 kilometres of shoreline along the Island’s west coast.
Another $400,000 in funding will go toward removing nine derelict boats on the west coast.
After removing approximately 20 derelict vessels from Cowichan Bay over the last few years at its own expense, as well as a significant amount of marine debris, PIM has plenty of experience in the field and Thacker said he plans to continue efforts to clear the area of derelict vessels, despite being rebuffed in the funding application.
“Absolutely I intend to continue to do this,” he said.
“I’m committed to enhancing the bay as much as I can.”