Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)

Nanaimo MLA named B.C. government’s special advisor on abandoned vessels

Sheila Malcolmson will work with Ministry of Environment on derelict vessels and marine debris

Recently elected Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson will serve in an advisory role with the B.C. government in relation to abandoned vessel mitigation.

Premier John Horgan announced Friday that Malcolmson will act as a special advisor to George Heyman, minister of environment and climate change, according to a press release. The MLA’s duties will include making recommendations for a provincial action plan, in conjunction with the Government of Canada, to eliminate environmental damage brought about by derelict vessels.

Her scope will include “building on existing work and partnerships, collaborate with the federal government on potential development of a boat-licensing program to aid enforcement of regulations for the management of derelict boats,” said the press release.

“The feasibility of an environmental stewardship program to manage the end-of-life recycling of boats and marine infrastructure, as well as fibreglass and other elements of derelict boats; a ‘cash for clunkers’ program for derelict vessels or those at the end of their useful life and what lessons can be learned from the Washington state program for [the] problem, noted the release. Related work will include making recommendations around provincial action to curb disposal of plastics in the marine environment.

RELATED: RDN on board with MP’s derelict vessel legislation

Heyman said abandoned boats and discarded plastics pollute waterways and put boaters at risk.

“Sheila Malcolmson has worked with coastal communities to clean up marine debris and tackle the growing problem of marine plastics…” Heyman said in the release. “My ministry has begun planning measures to further reduce plastic waste and Malcolmson will play an important role in our work.”

Prior to being elected as Nanaimo MLA in January, Malcolmson previously served as Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP, where in April 2017, she proposed a bill seeking to amend the Canada Shipping Act to designate the Canadian Coast Guard for vessel removal and assign it responsibility for contacting vessel owners.

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