A prominent stretch of Ganges Harbour finally has a clear view out to sea with the wreck of the Castle Finn removed Friday night.
“It was just a total success,” said Kathy Reimer, a professional environmental consultant who heads the Island Stream and Salmon Enhancement Society. “Everything was done exactly perfect. It all just went lickety-split.”
The heavy touring catamaran had been lodged in the foreshore mud since November of 2018. A suspicious fire saw the boat burn down to the waterline on Jan. 31, 2019. Despite intentions to clear it from the shore after that, the combination of difficult natural conditions, government regulations and a criminal investigation limited the window when work could take place. Cost efficiencies of combining work with other wreck clean-ups also came into play.
Friday’s effort came through a partnership between the Dead Boats Disposal Society, the Capital Regional District, Salish Sea Industrial Services, and the Island Stream and Salmon Enhancement Society, using federal funding. Work was done by Salt Spring Excavating with cooperation from David Grayson of the Ganges Alley complex and Jason Watkin of Beachside.
“There were probably 20 people involved in the planning,” said John Roe, founder of the Dead Boats Disposal Society.
Reimer explained the Department of Fisheries and Oceans allows two windows when work can be done on the foreshore, one in the summer months and one in winter. The winter period is just about to be closed on Feb. 15. That factor and the weekend’s low tides made it expedient to act before another season passed.
Crews got to work on site preparation around 3 p.m. on Friday and had finished the majority of the removal and clean-up by 8p.m. Some additional clean-up was done Saturday morning.
Reimer said the removal operation involved dismantling part of a rock wall near Ganges Alley and laying large swamp mats down on the beach to protect the creek and the beach. An excavator was used to break up the wrecked hull on the shore near Beachside. Pieces were moved across the creek and then loaded into a truck for recycling or disposal at the Hartland Road landfill in Saanich.
For more on this story, see the Feb. 12, 2020 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.