Victoria moves on derelicts

It's been years in the making but finally, the City of Victoria has been handed a mandate to clear the parts of the inner harbour from derelict boats.

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Monday that the city has the authority to regulate the waterway, which previously fell under federal jurisdiction only.

The city needed an injunction to require owners of abandoned or derelict vessels to move their boats. It also sought an injunction that would force owners to remove illegally moored docks.

“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," City Solicitor Tom Zworski said in a statement.

The court also made it clear that a boaters' right to anchor doesn't extend to permanent or semi-permanent occupation of public space for private purposes.

The court order means vessel and dock owners must remove their property from the waterway by May 7.

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