Sailboat adrift in Courtenay River near airpark

A derelict sailboat resting on its side in the Courtenay River is an eyesore to passersby at the Courtenay Airpark.

A derelict sailboat resting on its side in the Courtenay River is an eyesore to passersby at the Courtenay Airpark.

Worse yet, says Ernest Gardner, the boat is without sanitary facilities or a holding tank and is discharging into the water.

“From an environmental standpoint, it’s not a very good thing to have lying around in the estuary causing more and more pollution,” said Gardner is a member of the Comox Valley Environmental Council.

He said a man had been sleeping in the boat, which had been tied to a dock put in place by the Ministry of Transportation. He thinks someone cut it loose.

The boat, loaded with personal items accumulated over several months, has drifted about 150 yards down river adjacent to the Courtenay slough.

“He’s already made a whole lot of mess in the water by the dock,” Gardner said. “It (boat) is very unstable, so that if somebody’s in it, it might turn over and somebody might drown.”

Bob O’Brian, Ministry of Transportation operations manager, said the dock is under highways jurisdiction. But unless the boat is tied to the bridge, it no longer falls under MOT jurisdiction.

“We’ve been trying to work with the property owner to have it removed,” O’Brian said, noting the idea of the dock is to allow boats to be parked while arrangements are made for the 17th Street Bridge lift span to go up.

He said the owner had been close to moving the boat before it drifted away.

Calls to the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans were not returned by Record deadline.

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