A policy on Abandoned Vessels put forward by Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce and Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce passes at BC Chamber AGM

A policy calling for increased oversight and accountability with regard to removing and/or recycling abandoned vessels has passed at the BC Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting and Conference in Kamloops.

The Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce co-authored this policy with the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce.

“Ladysmith has seen its fair share of issues related to abandoned and derelict vessels”, said Mark Drysdale, Executive Director of the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce. “In 2017 alone a 40 foot and a 90 foot boat sank leaking oil into our harbour while a third boat burned to the waterline. Comprehensive legislation to protect our coastal communities is vital and urgent and we are excited that the BC Chamber of Commerce has agreed and accepted our resolution on Abandoned Vessels.”

The Abandoned Vessels resolution passed unanimously and is now official BC Chamber policy and will be advocated by the BC Chamber to appropriate levels of government over 2018-19. The resolution will also be considered at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting in September 2018. The approved policy calls on:

The Federal government to:
1. Designate Coast Guard as the agency responsible for directing the removal and recycling of abandoned vessels;
2. Improve vessel registration so that owners can be held accountable;
3. Fund a study of the Washington State model of fee collection for the costs of disposal of abandoned and wrecked vessels on the West Coast; and
4. Create a pilot “turn-in” program for safe disposal and recycling of abandoned vessels.

The Provincial government to:
5. Work with the Federal Government in the development of a West Coast wide strategy in cooperation with First Nations and local governments to build a comprehensive strategy and regulatory framework for addressing the financial and environmental risks of abandoned vessels.

“The Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce is proud to see this policy pass and receive support from our peers across the province,” said Drysdale. “We would also like to thank the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce, who did most of the heavy lifting in the development, for their leadership and guidance in the development of this important resolution. Our Chamber is committed to creating a safer and more business-friendly Ladysmith and, through the BC Chamber Policy Process, a more business-friendly BC.”

The BC Chamber AGM and Conference is held in a different BC community each year. The event is the largest annual business policy forum in the province. Every year, member Chambers of the BC Chamber develop and submit policies for the consideration of their peers. This year, 54 policies were up for debate at the BC Chamber of Commerce AGM including:

Protecting Funding for Tourism Marketing Programs and Projects – It was recommended that the Provincial Government consult with tourism sector stakeholders before implementation of amendments to the Provincial Sales Tax Act to allow uses of the MRDT other than tourism marketing, programs and projects. As well, they should work with sector stakeholders to identify a process for a separate housing funding mechanism that would not displace existing tourism funding.

Minimizing Undue Negative Impacts of the Employer Health Tax – Chambers from across BC are concerned about the impacts of this tax to small businesses. The recommendation is that the Provincial Government eliminate the proposed Employer Health Tax and to await the final report from the Task Force before implementing any changes.

Stop the Harmful Federal Tax Changes on Private Corporations – The recommendation was to set aside the current proposals for income splitting or “sprinkling” and passive investment in order to allow for meaningful and fulsome conversation and to implement a non-partisan tax commission to review the current tax policy, and strategies to arrive at a greater level of fairness and competitiveness.

BC Real Estate Amendments – The recommendation was for the provincial government to
impose harsher penalties and disciplines for unethical practices and develop evidence-based research showing how Limited Dual Agency will not impact small and rural REALTORS®; to postpone the June 15, 2018 implementation for new rules with respect to Limited Dual Agency until the aforementioned research has been developed and vetted; and to provide a six-month review period during which time a committee consisting of persons with real estate experience and expertise can provide government with a full assessment of the impacts proposed, as well as consider varied solutions.

For further details, please contact:

Mark Drysdale
Executive Director
Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce
T – (250) 245-2112
E – mark@ladysmithcofc.com