Mayor's Report - May 2007


Mayor Ralph Drew

It was in 1995 that Belcarra Council started to pursue regulations restricting the discharge of raw sewage into the waters of Bedwell Bay and Indian Arm. Now 12 years later, the Federal Government has finally enacted new regulations that align Canadian practices with international standards regarding the dumping of untreated sewage from all boats and ships along Canada’s coastal waters.

Over the intervening years there have been several follow-up requests to the Federal Government regarding the request for designation of Indian Arm, but change was not forth-coming. During the past four years myself and Councillor Drake have had discussions with our MP James Moore on this issue, and I am pleased to say that James “went to bat” for Belcarra and pursued this file on our behalf.

On May 8th, James Moore joined the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, and the Honourable John Baird, Minister of the Environment, to announce the next step in his long-fought efforts to keep Canada’s coastal waters clean from the dumping of sewage, garbage and other pollutants. “I have been fighting for these changes for years, I promised my constituents that if I was elected into Government we would take action to keep our local waters clean, and we are delivering results,” said Moore.

It was on June 17th, 2006, that the federal government published notice of the new regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part I, and initiated the requisite 90-day consultation period. The proposed regulations covered a wide variety of issues intended to reduce or eliminate pollution by oil, chemicals, sewage, garbage, anti-fouling paints, and air emissions from ships. Among the regulations is a complete ban on the dumping of untreated sewage from all boats and ships along Canada’s coastal waters. During the consultation period Transport Canada and Environment Canada received numerous comments from stakeholders which were taken into account in the finalization of the new regulations. The final notice of the new regulations was published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on May 16th, 2007. Key features of the new regulations include:

  • An absolute ban on the dumping of untreated sewage within 12 nautical miles of Canada’s coasts for large ships (larger than 400 tons);
  • An absolute ban on the dumping of untreated sewage within 3 nautical miles of Canada’s coasts for pleasure craft and small ships (less than 400 tons); – See GVRD three-mile exclusion zone map.
  • Requirements that any vessel fitted with a toilet to have a holding tank or an approved marine sanitation device for the treatment of sewage; – See GVRD pump-out station map.
  • Requirements for oily water filtering equipment to prevent harmful discharges of oily bilge water and bilge alarms to meet stricter approval standards;
  • Adding cargo sweepings and residues from non-toxic bulk cargoes to the definition of “garbage” and specifying the requirements for record-keeping for garbage-related operations on commercial carriers;
  • Requirements for ships to be inspected and certified for compliance with provisions for air emissions, limiting emissions of nitrogen oxide from new diesel engines, banning the release of ozone-depleting substances, banning the burning of specified substances in ships’ incinerators, and specifying the quality of fuel that can be burned by ships;
  • Banning the use of organotins in anti-fouling systems on ships, and requirements that ships’ anti-fouling systems be inspected and certified; and
  • Requirements for new oil tankers to be double-hulled and existing oil tankers to be phased-out.
  • In July 1999 I reported that the region’s Liquid Waste Management Plan (LWMP) would be enhanced to include policies for the protection of our region’s waterways, including Indian Arm. The GVRD’s interest in pleasure craft sewage management stems from policy and commitment statements in its LWMP which contains three commitments and one policy statement that relate to pleasure craft sewage management.

    For many years Belcarra residents have wanted to see regulations implemented to protect the unique deep-water fjord of Indian Arm, and Council is very pleased that the Federal Government is finally pursuing these progressive measures to protect the marine environment.


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    Village of Belcarra
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