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NEWSLETTER from November 2017:    Newsletter2017

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News – Nov. 3, 2017: CMACDec2017

 

COALITION FOR RESPONSIBLE AND SUSTAINABLE NAVIGATION

TEXT SUBMISSION TO THE CMAC STANDING COMMITTEE OF RECREATIONAL BOATING,

CMAC MEETING, OTTAWA, DEC. 5 TO 7, 2017

Rationale for Environmental Science-based Regulations

The COALITION FOR RESPONSIBLE AND SUSTAINABLE NAVIGATION has been created to develop pan Canadian support for influencing Transport Canada to modify The Canada Shipping Act to include science-based regulations pertaining to the use of motorized pleasure craft.  Accordingly, the COALITION met with five representatives of Transport Canada in Ottawa in June 2017, has participants in Quebec, Ontario and BC and is currently in an expansion mode.

The need for a new regulatory framework stems from the inadequacies of The Canada Shipping Act to address the environmental impacts of motor boat activity.  That is, the numbers of motorized pleasure craft and the aggregate power of these boats increase with each year while the environmental tolerances and surface areas of Canada’s water bodies remain finite.

The voluntary codes of conduct, or non-regulatory solutions encouraged by Transport Canada, are formulae for the polarization of communities, irresolvable debates and lowest common denominator consensuses on motor boat restrictions whereby the environment loses out.

To develop an environmental science-based new regulatory framework, the COALITION has a research program and conceived preliminary legislative drafting instructions.

Research Initiatives To-date and Planned

COALITION research to-date has focused on wake boats.

A 2014 study by the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) indicated that a wake boat with its ballasts engaged will generate waves that must travel 300 metres before their power dissipates.  This suggests that a wake boat, with its ballasts full, requires a minimum of a 600-metre-wide passageway to avoid erosion of the shorelines – should the boat in question advance in the middle of the passageway.

A 2015 study by the Université Laval on behalf of the COALITION and its sponsors revealed that the water columns behind the propeller of wake boats with full ballasts descends a minimum of 5 metres.   This means that in depths of 5 metres or less, a wake boat with its ballasts in operation, will stir up the sediments below its path, releasing phosphorus in the process, thus contributing to the proliferation of aquatic plants.

The above information could be applied to any bathymetric map for the purpose of classifying an entire water body or section(s) of a water body regarding wake boats.

The 2018 component of the research program will assess the environmental signatures of other classes of motorized pleasure craft plus monitor the cumulative impacts of motor boat activity.

Preliminary Legislative Drafting Instructions

On preliminary legislative drafting instructions, a detailed version and a PowerPoint on regulatory highlights are now available on the COALITION web site at http://coalitionnavigation.ca/legislation

Key features of this science-based regulatory framework include the federal government setting national standards for certain types of activity with certain kinds of pleasure craft and for classes of marine environments, while leaving municipalities with the option of exceeding these standards should they so wish.   Approval by a municipal council would be sufficient with respect to this latter option.

Filming of illegal activity for the purposes of delivering a fine would be encouraged, without the identification of the complainant.

Collaboration with Transport Canada

With respect to initiating the dialogue with Transport Canada on these matters, on June 28, 2017, three representatives of the COALITION met with Luc Tremblay, Executive Director, Domestic Vessel Regulatory Oversight and Boating Safety, Transport Canada, and four of his staff.

At that meeting, the COALITION was informed that it would be included in Transport Canada’s engagement strategy and the COALITION’s timing is good as its issues and proposals would be raised in a new interdepartmental committee tributary to the Ocean Action Plan.  In addition, the COALITION was invited to pursue participation in the National Recreational Boating Advisory Committee (NRBAC) and the Canadian Marine Advisory Council (CMAC).  The Transport Canada CMAC suggestion explains the COALITION’s decision to be a part of the CMAC meeting Dec 5 to 7, 2017 in Ottawa.

For support for its 2018 research program, Luc Tremblay in an e-mail dated July 6, 2017 advised the COALITION to consult with the Transport Canada Policy Group and the Transportation Development Centre.

Social Science Complements Environmental Science-Based Regulations

Social sciences complement the above-described environmental science-based approach.

The Erin survey conducted on behalf of Safe Quiet Lakes of the Ontario Muskoka region confirms the polarization of communities indicating 45% favour more regulations while 31% don’t and 49% favouring more enforcement while 30% are against.  However, when the survey respondents were asked questions on specific matters, such as no-wake zones in ecologically sensitive areas, 62% to 71% backed more regulations and more enforcement.  It stands to reason that the majority would support regulations and enforcement of regulations to respect the environmental tolerances of an entire water body.

Urgent Need for a Pan-Canadian Common Effort

All things considered, it cannot be understated that there is an urgent need to assemble the pluralistic majority for a common effort to influence the Government of Canada pertaining to a situation which is deteriorating with each passing year.

The COALITION invites water body area residents from across the country to have a look at the Coalition web site http://coalitionnavigation.ca/ , sign the online declaration of support http://coalitionnavigation.ca/petition , become members http://coalitionnavigation.ca/become-a-member and/or contact us about setting up a COALITION chapter in your region of the country, info@coalitionnavigation.ca .