New bylaw queried SFN crab boat overstays its welcome at Pier

White Rock wants to draft a bylaw to keep boats from overstaying their welcome at the city pier.
The decision, made by council Monday, is directed at a Semiahmoo First Nations crab boat that’s been chained to the the east section of the city-owned pier since July – without permission from city staff.
The band, which received permission from Mayor Judy Forster last year to use the dock, will be asked to remove the boat this week.
“This is a pier we own. We can’t just let someone moor there for as long as they want,” Coun. James Coleridge said.
“We need to take whatever Draconian or Machiavellian measures necessary to have it removed.”
But Coun. Matt Todd, who voted against the bylaw, said the city may be hurting its relationship with the band.
“What I hear is, ‘Get that bloody boat off the pier,’” Todd said.
“I don’t think that’s how you establish good relationships.”
The city-owned section of the pier has two free spots for short-term visitors and those staying overnight are charged a $15 fee, although this isn’t covered by a bylaw right now. The west side of the pier, managed by White Rock Harbour Board, has 33 spots for members, who pay $2.20 per foot per month in moorage.
Tim Thompson, harbour master for the WRHB, said the crab boat is a safety risk because it’s chained to the pier. The issue has angered several White Rock boaters, he added.
“If it caught fire, you couldn’t push it off. The whole pier could go up,” Thompson said.
“I’ve had at least five phone calls about this in the last few months … It’s a pretty big deal for boaters.”
But Bill Cook of the SFN defended the band’s use of the pier.
“The docking spot on the pier which has been utilized by Semiahmoo … does not interfere with visiting craft nor with other sailing vessels moored at the pier,” he said in a letter to The Peace Arch News.
Cook did not return phone calls.
Forster said while she didn’t regret giving the band permission to use the pier, she’s surprised how long the boat has been moored there.
“I thought they would only use it for the summer,” she said after the meeting Monday.
Lorne Webber, who moors his 27-foot sailboat in the west side of the pier, supports the bylaw.
“I think [the SFN] is taking advantage of the situation. I don’t think it’s fair.”
The city’s environmental and economic committee’s will meet to form a plan to better manage the pier.
In 2004 council granted a commercial whale-watching company permission to use the easterly dock, but sent the group packing the next year.