The Comox Valley Regional District board says a shipbreaking operation in Union Bay is a non-permitted use in an industrial zone. File photo

The Comox Valley Regional District board says a shipbreaking operation in Union Bay is a non-permitted use in an industrial zone. File photo

Baynes Sound residents planning town hall to discuss Union Bay shipbreaking business

The Concerned Citizens of Baynes Sound have scheduled a town hall meeting to diuscuss the contentious shipbreaking business conducting its operations in Union Bay.

The meeting is set for 1-3 p.m., Sunday, May 29 at Union Bay Hall (5401 Island Highway South).

“Union Bay Industries Ltd. (UBIL) at 5084 Island Highway South was a log sort for over 30 years,” reads a CCOBS press release. “UBIL was sold to foreign owners in 2019. These new owners then started a pop-up shipbreaking operation (Deep Water Recovery) with the arrival of multiple vessels.

“The international community defines shipbreaking as hazardous waste. These are all known carcinogens. Our environment, the viability of our community, and public health and safety are all in jeopardy.”

The Comox Valley regional District initiated legal action against DWR last month, but CCOBS are concerned at the lack of responce from the provincial government on the issue.

“The province (Forests Lands and Natural Resources)… has remained silent on this issue,” said the release. “None of these vessels could be here without the province’s consent. In fact, the original log sort lease only allowed logs to be in the foreshore. Despite community and First Nations objections and concerns, the province unilaterally approved a major change of use (from logs to toxic vessels awaiting shipbreaking on the lands) on Oct. 15, 2021. Numerous vessels were brought to this site long before this Oct. 15, 2021 date. The province failed to follow the procedures for approving a major change of use to the foreshore with zero public consultation, and ignored First Nations objections and concerns.”

The May 29 meeting is to communicate the extreme hazards of shipbreaking and the group’s next steps to permanently halt shipbreaking in Baynes Sound.

“Canada has a previous experiment with lightly regulated shipbreaking in Marystown, Newfoundland,” reads the press release. “Environmental toxins continue to cause premature deaths through cancers in the residents.”

ALSO: Comox Valley Regional District sues to halt Union Bay shipbreaking operation

Comox Valley