Prior to his surgery, Stewart Jackson had been living aboard a boat off Lillian Hoffar Park in North Saanich for about four years with his wife and cat. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

North Saanich man fears tougher moorage policies could cost him his home

Stewart Jackson has been living on a boat off Lillian Hoffar Park for about four years

The owner of two boats moored off shore of a North Saanich park fears losing his place of residence as the municipality ponders tougher moorage policies. “They are putting their nose in where they shouldn’t,” said Stewart Jackson. “If I get kicked off my boat, I will be out on the street.”

Jackson owns two of the three boats that currently moor off Lillan Hoffar Park, with the third belonging his son. Jackson, who is currently staying on land with a friend after recovering from a leg amputation, cannot wait to resume living on the water. “I really can’t say,” he said, when asked when he might return. “I’m hoping really soon. I really don’t like being on land.”

Jackson, his wife and cat have been living on board for about four years after moving to the Saanich Peninsula from Esquimalt. “I was in a stinky little apartment then, and we just decided that we have had enough,” he said. “So we moved out to the boats, and we have been there ever since.”

RELATED: North Saanich council looks to navigate future of Tsehum Harbour

Jackson said he could afford to live on land, if necessary, but does not really want to do so and feels he is breaking no laws.

“It’s totally legal,” he said. “I’m far enough away at a high tide to be under federal jurisdiction.”

While Jackson’s wife has lived on and off the boat as Jackson recovers from his surgery in November, Jackson has been living on land. Otherwise, the hospital would have not discharged him following his surgery, he said. This said, he has been back on the water on at least one occasion, “slipping and sliding” on his crutches, while inspecting his boats, which currently receive care from a local.

Due to be fitted with a prosthetic soon, Jackson looks forward to resuming his life on the water.

“It’s great,” he said. “Some nights, it kind of rocks you to sleep. I am always out in the fresh air. I’m always working on the boats.”

The presence of the three boats — Jackson’s son uses his strictly for recreational purposes, according to Jackson — has drawn complaints from nearby residents concerned about the loss of views and access to local beaches.

Jackson is surprised that area residents are concerned about his boats, saying he has not received any complaints. He has also challenged the impression that the boats are abandoned and that he is squatting. “It a 41-foot-long boat I live on,” he said. “It’s bigger than some apartments in town.”

North Saanich officials have grown more concerned about the state of nearby Tsehum Harbour in the face of more than 30 sunken boats, according to one estimate, and other moorage issues. A recent staff report notes that around 100 mooring buoys currently float within Tsehum Harbour, with the majority of buoys satisfying North Saanich’s existing zoning bylaw.

RELATED: North Saanich floats tougher policies for buoys and moorings near Tsehum Harbour

While the regulation of navigation and shipping falls exclusively within federal jurisdiction, court cases have confirmed that municipalities may regulate through zoning land use covered by navigable water.

Specifically, the Community Charter gives municipalities the authority to regulate land covered by water up to 300 metres from the high water mark of municipal boundaries. The incorporation patent of North Saanich confirms that it includes the land covered by water to 300 metres from the high water mark.

North Saanich, for its part, appears eager to regulate the area and council earlier this month passed a number of motions designed to improve governance.

Jackson said he did not check with North Saanich officials when deciding to live on the water. “They usually come around once a year and check on me, see what’s going on, and walk away,” he said.

Jackson said he last spoke to North Saanich officials around Halloween after he had attached a floating camper to three boats off Lillian Hoffar Park.

According to Jackson, a man had been living on the camper for about a decade before moving to Alberta to live with his parents for the winter. Jackson said he agreed to pick it up on behalf of the Capital Regional District (CRD).

“I’m just waiting for them to come and pick it up,” he said.

Rebecca Penz, communications manager for the District of North Saanich, said the fate of the three boats “is not just a matter of dealing with abandoned vessels” because of the people who are living aboard. “Housing issues need to be addressed for these individuals,” she said.

“We have been working with the RCMP on enforcement and engaging with various social support services including the Homeless Action Response and CRD Housing to connect those living aboard with services to assist them with finding alternate housing.”

North Saanich hasn’t heard any concerns of potential environmental issues. “We are still assessing the situation and considering our options for next steps,” she said.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mental Health: Erasing stigma leads to new path for Victoria woman

Paula Roumeliotis struggled with bipolar disorder for 35 years before finding support

COVID-19: UVic Engineering to 3-D print 4,000 face-shields for frontline workers

Team working to ensure Island health care workers have personal protective equipment

Health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

West Shore RCMP investigates bank robbery in Langford

People asked to stay clear of incident near Jacklin Road and Kelly Road

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

Tax collectors, auditors to help field ‘historic’ numbers of benefit-seeking callers

‘If you work for CRA, people think we are just there to take money from your pockets.’

Family uses social media to help truckers find places to eat during pandemic

Restaurants Serving Drivers in Western Canada seeks to provide a list of places open for drivers

Advocates sound alarm over COVID-19 limiting access to contraceptives, abortion

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit sexual-health services from almost every angle

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

B.C. health officer says homemade masks may prevent spread of COVID-19 to others

Practising physical distancing, frequent hand washing and resisting touching your face are proven methods

B.C.’s senior home staff measures show results in COVID-19 battle

Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order restricts care aides to one facility

Independent investigation praises RCMP actions in Vancouver Island suicide attempt

Man hurt in incident that took place near Nanoose Bay in September of 2019

Most Read