City, Owners Argue over Drifting Drydocks

Monday, May 08, 2006
High winds set a portion of the dry docks in Chemainus Bay dangerously adrift last week, prompting some finger pointing between the owners and North Cowichan. Three massive dry dock sections, still lashed together, became separated and were blown sideways relative to the remaining two sections at about 6:30 p.m. May 1. The sections didn't cause any damage and tugboats had the dry docks re-secured together within a few hours. In early March, North Cowichan gave permission to Chemainus Quay and Marina Complex Ltd., the dry dock owners, to take down the 12-metre high wingwalls, citing safety concerns because of winter windstorms. Two months later little has been done. Chemainus Quay and Marina sources say North Cowichan has been putting up bureaucratic roadblocks. The municipality says it just wants an engineer to certify working in the harbor won't be an environmental disaster. An environmental report on the dry dock wall demolition was issued in early April. The report outlined materials of concern, such as creosote-preserved beams, tires, grease and bilge oil, and detailed a plan for safe materials handling during the deconstruction phase. In the first quarter of this year, Vancouver Island has been hit by at least five gale-force storms, with winds gusting to 70 kilometesr per hour last Monday. The company plans to use the dry docks as a breakwater for a $15-m marina and condominium project on the foreshore below the Chemainus hospital. It has permission to store the dry docks in its Chemainus Bay waterlot until November. (Source: Cowichan Valley News Leader)
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