Here is a copy of the letter that the club has sent to Transport Canada:
We encourage members to send their own letters to TC and you are free to use this letter as a basis for your own.
December 21, 2010
Re: Response to the ad that appeared in the November 24, 2010 edition of the Victoria Times-Colonist with respect to the NWPP application by Community Marine Concepts LP deposited under file # FB385458 at Victoria Land Titles Office:
As a party with an interest in this application to develop a marina on the north shore of the Victoria Harbour (in an area currently designated on the Port of Victoria Traffic Scheme for the use of non-powered vessels) please consider the following comments:
South Island Sea Kayaking Association (SISKA) is a non-profit organization with over 200 members. The club holds monthly educational meetings and talks as well as clinics on and off the water, and organizes 24 recreational paddles throughout the year, including some paddles along the north shore of the harbour where the proposed marina would be.
Under the guidelines of the Navigable Waters Protection Program, the public is entitled to access a set of clear, accurate and complete plans with supporting documentation, and to participate in a fair and transparent public consultation process. With respect to the CMC application, Transport Canada has not met its obligations under the NWPP guidelines and the spirit of the NWP Act. A one-sheet revised site plan and marina layout with no cross-sectional drawings and no plan view at the water level does not fit the criteria for meaningful public consultation and comment. In order to be engaged in the decision-making process in a meaningful way, the public requires access to documents provided in sufficient detail to allow stakeholders to effectively assess the impacts of the project. A sufficient opportunity to be heard should be provided by a full 30-day period for public comment (that does not fall over an extended holiday period during which government offices are closed for statutory holidays and staffing is minimal) as in the case of the current application. We request that Transport Canada require the proponent to re-advertise the project with submission of detailed plans for public viewing and extend the period for public comment.
In addition, please consider the following feedback:
According to NWPP guidelines, the documents should include an area map with the location of the proposed project clearly marked, details of anchoring systems, and descriptions of nearby markers buoys and signs. A context plan is required showing the marina in relationship to the existing airport runway, taxiway and Pelly Island. This information is important to the operators of non-powered vessels to assess the impacts of the proposed project on their access to these navigable waters and to ensure safe passage around the marina for the larger vessels that are not able to transit the proposed paddle corridor.
The proposed marina’s proximity to the airdrome, navigational aids, the foreshore and other geographical features such as Pelly Island need to be shown by overlaying the marina plan on the current Canadian Hydrographic Services’ Chart 3412 – Victoria Harbour and the Port of Victoria Traffic Scheme (PVTS).
The plan must show the distance between the marina structure, pilings etc. and the rocky shoreline. Without the required details it is not possible to accurately assess the impacts on safe navigation for a wide range of non-powered vessels including kayaks, outrigger canoes, paddleboards, voyageur canoes and rowboats. No specific details about the construction of the wave attenuator are provided. Operators of non-powered vessels require this information in order to assess the impacts of the wave attenuator on safe passage around he perimeter of the marina and the peripheral effects of the wave attenuator through deflected wave action likely to occur between the marina buildings and the rocky shoreline.
Detailed plans with side view drawings, dimensions and high and low water marks should be provided, as well as elevations for potential vertical obstructions by yacht superstructures, masts, etc. that could affect air and marine safety.
Assessment and mitigation of impacts should not focus on kayaks only. The range of non-powered vessels operating currently on these waters in terms of recreational and competitive paddling and rowing includes the large outrigger canoes measuring 15 meters long and 2.5 meters wide, dragon boats in excess of 13 meters, rowboats with their long oars extending approximately 5 metres and stand up paddleboards.
Because of the size and limited maneuverability of these large non-powered vessels and the narrow, potentially congested paddling tunnel under the buildings and ramps, there is a potential safety risk to vessels attempting to transit the curved passage among the pilings. The plan should show the location of support piles under the buildings and elevation views from east and west. The plan should include construction details so that obstructions below the building platforms can be assessed and the width of the proposed paddling corridor at various points along the route may be determined. Under the current plan, it appears that an adequate safety allowance for course correction due to wind effects and wave action has not been provided.
The clearance available under the buildings is unclear but appears inadequate. When the previous permit was issued (May 12, 2010), the plan showed a 3.00 m. geodetic as underside of the two platforms. The current plan shows the topside of the platform as 3.00 m. geodetic. Clearance under the buildings especially at high water is inadequate and poses a potential hazard caused by limited headroom. This is a particular hazard to operators of outriggers and rowboats where the paddlers/rowers sit high in their boats and to stand up paddle boarders. Restricted visibility due to the lack of daylight under the buildings and shadows poses another hazard. The specific location and configuration of the pilings is not shown on the plans – this information is needed to properly assess the ability for non-powered vessels to safely navigate around these obstacles within the paddling corridor.
These obstacles and the limited width and head clearance within the corridor may pose a serious safety concern with respect to the ability of emergency and rescue vessels to assist paddlers and rowers who have capsized or are experiencing other life threatening events. It should be made clear whether emergency response vessels would be able to access the paddling tunnel in the event of an incident.
Clearances under the proposed structures of the building and ramps need to be based on the accepted standard for marina navigation measurement, chart datum. The current figures are based on geodetic datum, a land based measure. Tidal effects are based on chart datum therefore all depths and clearances under structures for navigational purposes need to be documented according to accepted Canadian marine standards.
We are seeking confirmation from Transport Canada that an updated safety analysis of air and marine operations in the Victoria harbour is forthcoming and that the outcomes of this analysis will be considered as part of the decision-making process with respect to the marina application. We are seeking assurances from Transport Canada that all air and marine users, including operators of non-powered vessels, will be engaged in the consultation process for this safety analysis. Transport Canada has stated that if a marina on the north shore of the harbour is approved, changes to the Port of Victoria Traffic Scheme will likely be necessary. We are seeking confirmation from Transport Canada that changes to the PVTS will be a public process in which all air and marine users, including operators of non-powered vessels will be consulted on the impacts of the proposed changes and engaged in the process.
Earlier this year, the approval of an NWPP permit to Community Marine Concepts for a marina on the north shore of Victoria Harbour became the subject of a judicial review in federal court. As part of the review process, affidavits were submitted. The current plan that has been deposited in support of the proponent’s new application does not adequately address the concerns raised in our affidavit. The facts in the affidavit remain relevant to the current (second) application and require consideration as part of the current review process.
In an article published in the November 20, 2010 edition of the Victoria Times-Colonist, it is reported that with respect to the current NWPP application from CMC, Transport Canada may rely on information provided in the proponent’s earlier application. Transport Canada spokesperson Julian Glover is quoted as stating that “new” navigation issues will be addressed in the current review process. It is our position that since the approval of the first CMC application subsequently became subject to a judicial review in federal court, it would not be appropriate for Transport Canada to rely on the information used in reviewing the earlier application. The grounds cited in the application for the judicial review of the earlier NWPP decision on the marina included alleged lack of procedural fairness, allegedly failing to consult adequately with stakeholders, and allegedly failing to provide affected stake-holders (including those who exercise the public right to navigate the waters where the project is to be built) with adequate notice and opportunity to be heard. It is our expectation that the current review process will be fair and transparent, including a meaningful public consultation process that includes public access to complete, accurate and detailed information; and an opportunity for stakeholders to be engaged in the decision-making process.
Director, South Island Sea Kayaking Association (SISKA)
CC: The Honorable Chuck Strahl,
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
Navigable Waters Protection Officer
Bob Gowe, Manager, NWPP,
Navigable Waters Protection Division
Transport Canada - Pacific Region
820 – 800 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 2J8