The Supreme Court of BC has sided with the City of Victoria on its authority to regulate the Gorge Waterway– clearing the way for derelict boats to be removed.
The city applied for an injection to clear 17 boats and four docks from an area just north of the Selkirk Tressel.
The city and boat owners went to court after a new bylaw was created in 2016 that made several restrictions for length of moorage time for vessels in the waterway.
“Today’s judgment confirms that the City’s zoning regulations for the Gorge Waterway do not intrude on federal jurisdiction over navigation and shipping, and that they represent a reasonable balance between the municipality’s role in regulating land use and boaters’ rights to occasionally anchor,” said City Solicitor Tom Zworski said in a statement.
These changes regulate the use of the waterway for recreation without restricting navigation, prohibit live-aboard use and the storage of vessels, and address the negative impacts that unregulated marine activities have on the marine environment and Victoria residents.
The City will continue to offer outreach services to those living aboard vessels that cannot be safely moved to assist them in finding alternate housing.
The ruling means boats moored illegally on the Gorge will have to move by May 7, 2018.