2014 Member Survey Results

Last year just before our 2014 AGM we asked our members to give some feedback on how the BCNRA is doing. Here are some of the answers we got back and thank you to those who contributed!

Q: What do you believe to be the biggest challenges for marine communities in your area or on the BC coast?:    

A: As far as in my area, the shortage of live aboard spaces and misunderstanding of our community.

A: Expensive land to support water based activities.

A: Pollution. Fitting into the neighborhood and community. (being a responsible citizen)

A: There are not enough of them to live in and getting fewer.

A: NIMBYism. Somehow, nautical residents and their land-based neighbours need to come to a better understanding of one another’s needs and issues.

A: For livaboards it is sanctioned moorage and sewage collection.

A: The intent of harbour authority to cleanse our harbours and national public port system of boatdwellers

A: Finding suitable marinas to live aboard.

A: Costs for moorage including live a board fees continually increasing. It appears that less and less young people are coming into this lifestyle of living aboard/cruising as those of us who are older are moving off our boats. I’m sad to see this way of life diminish and think it is partly due to how expensive moorage has become.

Also, poorly maintained or derelict boats left at anchor or on moorings through winter weather systems and left for those of us at the marina to deal with when they become a hazard. This of course is not new.

A: Biggest challenge is how resistant the various marina’s and government are to allow live aboard status. In our area (Gibsons BC) there are some live aboards, but no new ones, and as old ones leave they aren’t being replaced by new. We’re in a phase out period. I think development is an issue. I don’t know if i have all the facts, but my perception and limited knowledge is that we are getting pressure from our marina not to live aboard as they are feeling pressure from the government

A: Increased costs and regulations for live aboard boatersmaking it more restrictive and expensive to continue the lifestyle.

A: I would say for my area Gulf Islands/Victoria – lack of sewage pump out facilities, unregulated moorings, lack of community support for marine communities, specifically in the Gulf Islands and Northern communities. I also believe there is a challenge with the image of liveaboards and the mixing up of responsible boaters and marine residents with the small number of those who choose to be irresponsible.

A: Moorage, whether at Marina or on a mooring. It must be safe secure and affordable.

A: Acceptance, expansion, growth, new communities. Changing public/marina owner/municipality outlook towards live aboard communities.

A: Lack of live aboard berthage. Too many moorings with no boats on them…privatizing of anchorages

Q: In the last few years have you noticed any positive changes in marine communities?:

A: On Salt Spring changes have been negative.

A: New positives??? Old positives remain in that there is a diverse community on the water that are bound by the realities of nature and a shared experiences related to that reality. I am not sure many if any significant positives have arisen.

A: We just moved to Westbay last year and moved aboard. This is a real jem of live a board community. We feel very blessed.

A: Not very many. NIMBYism seems rampant, e.g., Maple Bay.

There have been some positive draft changes to the bylaws in Area D of the Cowichan Valley Regional District (Cowichan Bay), and some positive interactions in Oak Bay between the BCNRA and local authorities re dinghies and anchored liveaboards.

A: Yes New Westminster is civilized I’m not under immanent threat of deportation from my home town

A: Previously at Pier 32 in Vancouver….now at Spruce Harbour (Greater Vancouver Live Aboard Co-op), so a much more secure live aboard community.

A: Our marina has been improving over the last number of years which creates a pleasant environment but again is reflected in the increase costs.

A: Not in terms of live aboards, no.

A: yes

A: I believe there has been some recognition from non-marine residents that there are responsible marine residents and that this lifestyle is more common than most think. I also like the initiative and attitude of some liveaboards who want to make a difference on the coast. I also appreciate that the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority has made some moves in the right direction in updating zoning and ensuring that marine residents legally have a place to be within the Victoria Harbour.

A: Yes. The BCNR was organized. Victoria legalized the float homes at Fishermans wharf. Live aboard boats to follow soon?

A: I’m a mover, changing locations every few seasons for the last 20 years and think it has stayed pretty much status quo. With the exception of a relatively small percentage of dock spaces, live aboards are pretty much shunned.

A: More couples, More young people, Better hydro

Q: Are there any areas where you feel the BCNRA isn’t doing enough?:

A: I think the BCNRA is doing its best.

A: I think our Association could be more effective if we had local ‘reporters’ in each marine community or area, who could keep the Directors informed on issues and positive changes in their area. These ‘reporters’ could request assistance from the BCNRA as needed, and/or mobilize local nautical residents and their supporters to work on local issues.

The Board of Directors of the BCNRA is a small group of people; the BC coast is very large. The BCNRA needs to encourage our membership to be actively involved in the Association and in their local area.

A: Our national public port system has been devolved into feudalism. Once upon a time public access was a legal right. The intent to cleanse our national public port system of boatdwellers is genocide. See definition of genocide in the Canada criminal code.

A: I’d like to see more lists of possible places to live aboard, and perhaps some way we can work as a group (lobby?) to ensure the government doesn’t phase out live aboard status. (editor’s note: We are keeping a list here!)

A: I’d like to see the organization be a bit more vocal. Perhaps work towards shedding light on the good things about marine communities rather than letting the media focus on the bad. Maybe that’s in the form of more stories, publications or short videos. To work towards developing some tools for marine residents to use against those who are trying to eliminate this way of life. Work to involve our membership on some of the projects we wish to take on (because the Directors can’t do it by themselves).

A: presenting its case to local government for # 1

A: Tough sell it seems and where to direct energy? Awesome that you are here and making a presence/effort!

A: Maybe more education directed at Marina owners and regional districts and letting people know that it isn’t cool to reserve patches of water by dropping a buoy that you only intend on using periodically

Q: What else would you say to the directors of the BCNRA?:

A: Stay with the basics. Keep harbours available, work to save anchorages, stay in the game.

A: The BCNRA has made a real difference in resolving some issues. Let’s make a concerted effort to attract new members and identify ways to keep the members involved.

A: Anchor for your rights in false creek for Canada Day

A: Continue to promote live aboard communities through out the province.

A: You’re doing great, don’t give up. Share the work with keen members!

A: Focus on one or two issues each year, define goals and complete task.

A: Just a thought. A list of friendly docks toward liveaboards. Be very cool to see the difference between Puget Sound and the Georgia Basin!

A: Well done…..

One thought on “2014 Member Survey Results

  1. I just read an article about derelict boats in the Comox Valley record and sent them the following letter.

    Your article “Battling the Derelict Boats” was interesting. The suggestion that those who cant afford the increasingly exorbitant cost of moorage should not be allowed to own boats, was the suggestion that only the rich should be allowed to own boats. It was the suggestion that those who live in remote areas which don’t have marinas , where not owning a boat is not an option ,should not be allowed to own boats.
    Lately, I have been meeting a lot of young people, including a lot of young women , formerly homeless , who have discovered that owning a boat is the only thing between them and homelessness. A friend attended meetings discussing a ban on liveaboards, and found that the majority of those promoting the idea were in the real estate business. Is forcing low income people, especially youth, into the ranks of the homeless, on behalf of the interests or the real estate industry, a good government policy, especially when it amounts drastically increasing the vulnerability of youth, especially the vulnerability of young women?
    Are homeowners better off, if those who cant afford to buy themselves, or their landlords, a million dollar home , are forced off the water and into their back yards, in greater desperation?
    We had a Supreme Court of BC ruling recently, which stated that the right to pitch a tent was part of the charter right to “Life Liberty and Security of the Person. ” Surely that could be applied to a floating shelter. Why waste money on the courts, to arrive at the same conclusion?
    Sure, we have to deal with derelicts, but any legislation must spell out clearly, that any boat which is someone’s home, regardless of state of maintenance, is exempt, to avoid power tripping bureaucrats misinterpreting the intent of law, for their own personal power trips.
    I often see expensive artist’s renditions of wrecked boats on a beach , which are considered art, and which are placed on walls to beautify a room, proof that “Eyesore” is a subjective term.
    Brent Swain
    Royston BC

    A few years ago, I wrote a similar article, which was published in “The Democrat.”
    I gave Gord Johns’ office copies of these today.
    A few years ago, I wrote the following article for the Metal Boat Quarterly. I think they have a lot of relevant pots for you to consider.
    — On Thu, 11/26/09, Brent Swain wrote:

    > From: Brent Swain
    > Subject: RE: Metal Boat Quarterly Article?
    > To: “Owen”
    > Date: Thursday, November 26, 2009, 6:36 PM
    > Nanaimo Turns Hostile to Boaters
    > For over 100 years, Nanaimo has offered a welcome stop for
    > cruisers on their way north. Being a huge , well protected
    > harbour with all the amenities, boaters favoured Nanaimo
    > over Vancouver, due to problems finding a safe , hassle free
    > place to anchor in Vancouver. Many waterside
    > businesses have sprung up with a regular flow of cruisers
    > stocking up there , guaranteeing support for their
    > businesses.
    > In the last ten years, Nanaimo Harbour authority has
    > had a huge inflow of cash, due to the booming forest
    > industry shipping it’s products out of Nanaimo to many
    > overseas destinations. They were awash in cash and, as is so
    > often the case, assumed it would last forever. They tore
    > down perfectly adequate offices and washrooms
    > and spent a fortune building new ones. They spent far more
    > on rearranging docks than was justified.
    > Then, last fall, when the economic crunch hit, the money
    > stopped ,and they began to look for new sources of income.
    > As fewer and fewer cruisers were willing or able to pay the
    > $30 plus a night to tie to their over priced docks.
    > They decided to try force us to , by charging people to
    > anchor, something the Ontario courts have ruled illegal and
    > unconstitutional.
    > Last year people anchored in the harbour were
    > handed written threats to seize their boats, if
    > they did not pay up for anchoring. En mass, they raised
    > their anchors and left. A friend was told that he had used
    > up his two weeks anchoring at Newcastle Island for the year
    > and wouldn’t be allowed to anchor there again for
    > another year. This was also ruled illegal and
    > unconstitutional by Ontario courts, and they were ordered to
    > return the money with interest.
    > While they currently only charge for stays of over two
    > weeks, it would be extremely naive for anyone to delude
    > himself into believing this will remain the limit.
    > What they are trying to do is set a precedent, which
    > will allow them to gradually lower the limit, until the
    > charge becomes a daily charge , setting a precedent
    > which will eventually result in charges for anchoring
    > anywhere in BC.
    > True , one individual made an ass of himself , by abusing
    > the anchorage, and the Harbour Authority had to spend a lot
    > in legal fees , etc, to get rid of him. Given that Thrifty’s
    > supermarket makes over 3 million dollars a year from
    > cruisers passing through, what this individual cost him was
    > a drop in the bucket compared to what their past
    > hospitality has earned Nanaimo over the years. it was
    > simply a cost of doing business, for which all cruisers were
    > blamed.
    > True , some transients may find the lack of anchored boats
    > a convenience , until the precendent is set, and due to ever
    > rising fees, and stricter limits, it becomes
    > prohibitive for most of us.
    > True, they claimed to be worried about pollution, by a
    > lifestyle which has about 1/10,000th the environmental impact
    > of those living ashore, including that of those making up
    > the new rules.
    > A court in Victoright under the Canadian Charter of Rights.
    > This ruling also applies to boaters..
    > This is an attack on the cruising and liveaboard lifestyle
    > option which anyone wanting to continue to have the
    > option of living aboard should vehemently oppose.
    > Do they feel more secure if they take those happily living
    > aboard their floating homes across the harbour, and turn
    > them into angry people living in their own back yards?
    > What kind of warped , elitist logic has anyone
    > believing that increasing economic desperation
    > make us all more secure?
    > The only way to send a clear message of our objections to
    > this attack on the cruising lifestyle is to boycott Nanaimo,
    > until they back down. Sidney, Ladysmith, Sechelt, Comox,
    > Port McNeil, Port Hardy and Bella Bella all have great
    > anchorages near the shopping and amenities that Nanaimo has
    > . There is no reason for any cruisers to stop in Nanaimo and
    > spend a red cent there. It would be easy for cruisers to
    > knock a couple of million dollars off their annual take
    > , every year, until they back down. This will bring local
    > political pressure on them and send a clear message to other
    > coastal communities who are considering holding cruisers for
    > ransom. Those who fail to support such a boycott will
    > loose their bitching rights when they are forced out of the
    > cruising lifestyle by such greed.
    > This threat to the cruising lifestyle option is increasing
    > around the world . Here we have a chance to push back. Lets
    > not waste it.
    > Brent Swain

    There has been some discussion on how to pay for cleanup of abandoned boats. The least controversial and confrontational would be a surtax on marine fuel . That would require no setting up of yet another bureaucracy, which would absorb much of the funding before it gets to its intended use. It would eliminate the confrontation and resulting legal expenses of other options. For the most part, most boaters wouldn’t even notice it.
    I suggest you contact the BC Nautical Residents Association for their input.
    Brent Swain

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