News

Passing the buck on derelict boats

Derelict boats are lining the side of Macaulay Road, adjacent to the Saratoga Speedway, as people have been using the site as an illegal dumping ground. Residents are fed up, but the various levels of government are passing responsibility for the clean-up. - Erica Farrell
Derelict boats are lining the side of Macaulay Road, adjacent to the Saratoga Speedway, as people have been using the site as an illegal dumping ground. Residents are fed up, but the various levels of government are passing responsibility for the clean-up.
— image credit: Erica Farrell

Scott Stanfield

Record staff

Four boats left at the side of the road have created an eyesore near the entrance to Saratoga Speedway, located on Macaulay Road in Black Creek.

Residents in the area want them removed, but none of the various levels of government appear interested in resolving the issue.

The road adjacent to the race track, where the derelict boats have been dumped, is a Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure right of way, meaning the problem falls within their jurisdiction, according to the Comox Valley Regional District.

“We have been working a bit with MOTI to help them but the work is being undertaken by MOTI,” said James Warren, general manager of corporate services at the regional district. “They’re contracted to effectively remove the boats and take care of that.”

However, after numerous calls to the ministry, a spokesperson told The Record that the newspaper should contact the owner of Saratoga Speedway.

The CVRD’s manager of bylaw compliance Derald Lewis says the district has worked with Saratoga in similar situations. He has placed No Dumping signs in the area to try to curb the situation.

“It’s happened in the past with boats in that area,” Lewis said. “It started out as one and then went up to four lately. There is a $500 fine under our unsightly bylaw for doing this type of illegal dumping.”

He notes other provincial fines could be levied against anyone caught dumping the boats.

Denise Witczak, who lives on Macaulay Road, suspects people are dumping boats at the site because of a specific event held each year at the speedway.

“Every year the Hargreaves (speedway owners) put on a crash-to-pass boat race,” said Witczak. “The car with the largest piece of boat still attached by the chain (at the end of the race) wins. Everyone loves it! But now people feel it’s OK to dump their unwanted boats on the side of the road lining the entrance to the historic speedway.

“I am a proud resident of Black Creek and have lived on Macaulay Road all my life. There has got to be some sort of mitigation because this eyesore has got to go!”

 

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