Bill Karasiuk, aboard his pleasure craft ‘Who Cares’, says the Port Alberni Port Authority should not remove the San Mateo convenience float because it will compromise boater safety. SUBMITTED PHOTO

West coast boater objects to removal of float in Barkley Sound

Port Alberni Port Authority says San Mateo Bay float removal is at province’s request

For nearly 40 years, boaters traversing the Alberni Inlet toward Bamfield have been able to tie up to a convenience float in San Mateo Bay. That will change this month, as the Port Alberni Port Authority will be removing the float.

The decision doesn’t sit well with Port Alberni boater Bill Karasiuk, who says the float is vital to the safety of marine traffic in that part of the Alberni Inlet.

“This float has saved our lives on at least two occasions when we were caught in stormy and windy conditions,” Karasiuk said. “It is not safe to navigate the Alberni Inlet when high winds prevail or heavy fog descends. This float has also provided a safe place to moor when experiencing engine problems.

“I believe that PAPA’s decision and the province’s intention to remove the float upon assuming jurisdiction, was made with little regard to the safety of boaters and the impact on tourism.”

Karasiuk said the float is the only safe haven or stopping point between Barkley Sound and the float located in Hook Bay, and that it is marked on nautical charts.

Knezevic said the float has been in place for 30 or 40 years as a convenience, not as a safety measure. It is approximately 18 metres (60 feet) long by five metres (15 feet), and people will tie up their boats to picnic and even to camp on it.

San Mateo Bay is located 15 kilometres from Bamfield, with Sarita Bay just around the corner. The float is tucked into a corner of San Mateo Bay as you enter the mouth.

“PAPA has been fixing it up along the way, repairing floats and docking. We have been upkeeping it for a number of years,” Knezevic said. “It does require some attention as a float.”

The port authority also changed the anchoring system three or four years ago.

“As for the protection component there is plenty of protection there,” he said. There are several small bays in the area where boaters can find shelter.

“The safety component isn’t going to be jeopardized. The float is 50 feet from shore and there’s plenty of protection there. If somebody is in dire need there are two fish farms in the same bay…if somebody is in deep trouble there are other structures in the area.”

Karasiuk said he doesn’t understand why the port authority won’t agree to keep the float in San Mateo Bay even if the jurisdiction switches to the provincial government.

Knesevic said it’s not that simple. The port authority would have to apply for a permit, and there could be a cost to maintaining the float. Anyone can apply to the province for a licence to occupy that area with a float, and a fee would have to be paid, he explained.

It’s a rigorous process, and there is no guarantee that they would be granted a permit to keep the float in San Mateo Bay.

“They (provincial government) indicated that’s an avenue for us to pursue. It doesn’t guarantee we would get a permit to have it there,” Knezevic said.

With the port authority giving jurisdiction for San Mateo Bay back to the province, they would then be paying to provide a service for someone outside their jurisdiction, which would affect PAPA’s insurance.

He said PAPA would maintain the float on the province’s behalf if the provincial government wants to keep it in San Mateo Bay, as long as there were no other responsibilities or liabilities in doing so.

“Our goalpost has changed on us,” explained Knezevic. “If it stays as is and the province maintains their request to remove (the float) then we’ll have to.”

The port authority planned to remove the float on Friday, March 8.

The AV News has reached out to a spokesperson with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development for comment.

editor@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

Bus crash survivor petitions Justin Trudeau to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

Father and son duo win Iron Man tournament at Alberni Golf Course

Forty men teed it up for the Iron Man tournament on Sunday

EDITORIAL: Issues, not pettiness, must drive election

Who do you trust? Is that what the latest federal election is going to chalk up to?

BIZ BEAT: Alberni Chamber of Commerce to host women in business forum

Jowsey’s partners with WCGH Foundation for fundraiser

ARTS AROUND: Colourful fundraiser headed to the Alberni Valley

Aché Brasil Dance troop is an explosion of colour, energy and music

Shambhala named best music festival in North America

Shambhala Music Festival is held at the Salmo River Ranch in B.C.

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

NDP, Liberals promise more spending, while Tories promise spending cuts

Making life more affordable for Canadians a focus in the 2019 election

UPDATE: Police probe third threat against a Kamloops high school in eight days

Police have not released any further details into what the threat includes

Charges dropped against Mountie involved in shooting death of Surrey man

‘I feel like I’ve lost Hudson all over again,’ says mom

B.C. Interior caribou protection area big enough, minister says

Proposals sparked protest in Kootenays, Williams Lake region

Two B.C. women selected to compete on ABC’s The Bachelor

Mykenna Dorn and Alexis Thind will compete for bachelor Peter Weber’s heart

Break out the tiki torches: Open fires allowed again in B.C.’s coastal region

All open fires allowed effective at noon on Sept. 18

Most Read