John Roe, here seen overseeing the Gorge Waterway, spent the better part of two decades to make the area safe for recreation. Saanich Monday recognized him for his efforts to help clean up the area off abandoned and derelict boats. (Black Press File).

Saanich recognizes Dead Boat Society lead for helping clean up Cadboro Bay

Two men recognized for efforts to remove abandoned and derelict boats in Greater Victoria

Eric Dahli, chair of the Cadboro Bay Residents Association and Dead Boat Society, and John Roe of the Dead Boat Disposal Society, Monday received awards for respective work in helping to clean up Cadboro Bay.

“The issue of abandoned, and wrecked boats on the beach at Cadboro Bay and in the Gorge Waterway have been long running and very troublesome,” said Mayor Fred Haynes. “These two organizations, led by these two individuals have delivered results that draw upon federal, provincial and municipal solutions. Without their dogged and skillful resolve, the beach would not be clear of these problem boats.”

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Dahli, who first joined the association 20 years ago and chaired it for 14 years, said the award means recognition for a “lot of hard work by a lot of people.”

“I just happen to be the guy in the chair,” he said prior to the ceremony in council chambers. “I guess they couldn’t get 70 people in gumboots in council,” he dead-panned.

Over the years, Dahli led efforts to remove abandoned and derelict boats from Cadboro Bay, which some, including Dahli, have called a jurisdictional nightmare.

One side of the beach falls within Saanich, the other side within Oak Bay. The ocean floor is provincial responsibility, the water above it falls within federal jurisdiction.

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Roe, for his part, has been instrumental in helping to clean up the Gorge, whose jurisdiction is equally complex. He has also had a hand in helping to remove boats from Cadboro Bay. Over the better part of 20 years, he has also worked towards restoring the Gorge Waterway as a recreational area for swimmers.

Roe, who could not attend Monday’s ceremony, said his group could not have accomplished what it did without the help of the community.

“Any person can make change, but it takes a community,” he said.

For all the accolades though, Dahli is looking ahead to the next challenges, he said. They include among others the on-going update of the local area plan.


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