Mayor's Report - July 2014

Trans Mountain's Response to the Concerns Regarding Recreational Boating

Mayor Ralph Drew

In early June the project applicant (Trans Mountain) for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP) provided responses to Belcarra's first round of questions, which included a question regarding the potential impacts on the safety of recreational boating within Central Burrard Inlet. In its response, Trans Mountain acknowledged that its marine traffic models, simulations and risk assessments did not include data on recreational boat traffic, and offered the following rationale as part of the response:

"All vessel traffic, recreational or otherwise, are subject to all maritime traffic regulatory requirements, which are designed to ensure the safety of all users of marine transportation lanes. As is the case today, it is expected that the operators of small vessels (mainly fishing and recreational vessels), as required by Transport Canada, would continue to follow boating safe practices and the collision regulations and apply good seamanship when operating within Burrard Inlet…"

As a consequence, on July 8th the Village of Belcarra submitted a 'Notice of Motion' as part of the National Energy Board (NEB) process requesting the NEB to require Trans Mountain to collect data on recreational boat traffic within Burrard Inlet east of the Second Narrows, to factor that data into its models, simulations and risk assessments of marine traffic, and re-calculate the potential for marine incidents that reduce recreational boating safety.

On July 11th Belcarra received a written response from Trans Mountain advising as follows:

"Trans Mountain submits that the Motion should be granted in part by the Board [NEB], for the reasons provided below... Trans Mountain committed to provide additional information in response to the specific [Information Request]…"

On July 14th I was further advised that Trans Mountain will be collecting data on recreational vessel traffic in Central Burrard Inlet this summer, and incorporating that data into the marine traffic simulations and risk assessments. In addition, since the management of all vessel traffic is the purview of the federal government, Trans Mountain will be meeting with Transport Canada as well as Port Metro Vancouver (PMV) to discuss this important subject.

There are a number of considerations that will be up for discussion ranging from the installation of additional navigation aids within the harbour, to the possibility of designating a traffic channel starting from Port Moody and extending west through Burrard Inlet. The management of increased commercial vessel traffic from locales such as Pacific Coast Terminals (PCT), Imperial Oil (Ioco dock), and Suncor in Port Moody is up for discussion in any event.

An interesting side-note are the statistics regarding recreational boating on the South Coast of British Columbia. While it is intuitive that there are a large number of licensed pleasure craft and pleasure craft operators, the statistics from 1999 to 2012 indicate there are 375,143 pleasure craft, and 418,357 operator cards, although some vessels may no longer be in use. In addition, there is potential moorage for over 5,250 boats within English Bay and Burrard Inlet. Naturally, there is a seasonal pattern to the use of pleasure craft and, typically, recreation boats spend a considerable time at berth.

I will keep Belcarra residents apprised of developments over the coming months.


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Village of Belcarra
4084 Bedwell Bay Road
Belcarra, BCCANADA
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