The idea of letting boats dump sewage closer to shore sounded so crappy to some Vancouver park board commissioners that they want to ban dumping from the Burrard Inlet altogether.
Commissioners Michael Wiebe and Catherine Evans were inspired to suggest such a prohibition in light of Transport Canada’s proposal to let pleasure crafts carrying less than 15 people dump their sewage one nautical mile from shore down from three nautical miles.
“There’s already a bit of a stigma that we don’t have clean beaches,” Wiebe said Wednesday, pointing to frequent closures of Sunset and Ambleside beaches last summer due to peculiarly high E. coli levels.
A boat is moored in False Creek in January. Transport Canada is considering changing dumping regulations for pleasure craft. Credit: Jennifer Gauthier/Metro
“Those are numbers that make people go, ‘Ew, I don’t want to get in our water.’”
While Wiebe recognizes boats are just one of many factors including dog parks and birds that contribute to high bacteria levels, he is calling on the park board to ask Transport Canada not to loosen the regulations and to ask it to designate the inlet as a no dumping zone.
Cleaner water could help Vancouver attain blue flag status for its beaches, an international designation for high water quality
“Most boaters are fantastic, they want to be boating in clean water,” he said. “We have such beautiful beaches and we need to be advocating for those beaches.”
Transport Canada has extended the period for commentary on the proposed changes due to the volume of backlash from the public, so the board’s feedback could be taken into account.
The lax rules have apparently prompted a number of requests for no-dumping zones from municipalities across the country, Wiebe said. Transport Canada is working on a process to handle the volume of inquiries.
The park board is scheduled to vote on Wiebe’s motion next week.
Original article courtesy www.metronews.ca