Unresolved problems of nearby industrial ports are now being dumped into our group of protected islands.
The last few years have brought an exploding amount of freighter traffic and use of anchorages to the southern Gulf Islands.
The Islands Trust released the displayed map of existing and planned anchorages in December 2015. Salt Spring Islanders were not informed of the 2 anchorages in Captain's Passage just outside of Ganges Harbour. We added these anchorages in pink.
In 2018, the freighters suddenly started arriving outside Ganges Harbour. Delays with loading grain in Vancouver were quoted. Most residents believed this was a temporary measure, to be endured and suffered patiently.
But the freighters keep coming, one after another. Some stay a month at a time and do maintenance, free of charge. The attempt is clearly to expand and use anchorages permanently. Salt Spring Island is being reeled in quietly.
After protests by residents from other islands, Transport Canada advertised the current expansion of active anchorages as a pilot project under the name 'Interim Protocol'.
All complaints and inputs have basically been ignored, including repeated requests by the Islands Trust to reduce impacts and eliminate all anchorages in the Gulf Islands.
In the meantime, Transport Canada is preparing rules to identify and enforce new or existing anchorages. They are spending thousands of tax dollars on ineffective overflights and reports that do not reflect how people and the environment are affected.
The massive effort is funded under the 'Oceans Protection Plan' and sounds harmless enough. Not so the planned outcome: a formal process to identify and secure anchorages that will ensure that demands by industry can be enforced as national interest over the well-being of local citizens and unique environments.
The second map shows an estimated scenario that is not unrealistic of how the currently 'empty space' in the southern Gulf Islands may soon be filled with anchorages for freighters and oil tankers.
Is this how you envision the future of Salt Spring Island after 2020?
Time is running out. By August 2019 the pilot project will expire, and is expected to be renewed again. Every year will make it more likely that anchorages become permanent. It is unclear when the protocol to identify and enforce new anchorages will come into effect.
Next: Salt Spring Island - Our Sense of Place at Risk
Light & Noise Pollution
Complaints Process: No Results
Gabriolans Against Freighter Anchorages Society (GAFA)
Saltair Ocean Protection Committee
& Stuart Channel Anchorages Watch Group (Ladysmith)
Anchorage Concerns Thetis (ACT)
Cowichan Bay Ship Watch Society
Plumper Sound Protection Association