Image: Burnside Gorge Community Association

A BC Supreme Court ruling will force numerous vessel and dock owners to move their property over the coming months.

The City of Victoria now has the authority to regulate the Gorge Waterway, which means that vessels and docks illegally moored there will have to be removed before May 7, 2018.

“It is the City’s expectation that owners will respect the court order and comply with the deadline to remove their vessels and property from the area,” said City Solicitor Tom Zworski.

“Right to Anchor” does not extend to public space

The judgement also recognizes that the right to anchor does not extend to the permanent or semi-permanent occupation of public space for private purposes.

“Today’s judgment confirms that the City’s zoning regulations for the Gorge Waterway do not intrude on federal jurisdiction over navigation and shipping,” said Zworski.

Outreach Services Offered to those Living on Vessels

In May 2016, changes were made to the City’s Zoning Regulation Bylaw to improve the management of the Gorge Waterway by limiting long-term mooring to a maximum of 48 hours and not more than 72 hours in a 30-day period.

The City will continue to offer outreach services to those living aboard vessels that cannot be safely moved to assist them in finding alternate housing.

City Bylaw officers monitor the Gorge Waterway. The public is asked to report any long-term mooring by calling 250.361.0215.