The District of West Vancouver is forcing the closure of the privately owned West Vancouver Marina, citing serious safety concerns.
District staff boarded up the main ramp to the docks on Fisherman’s Cove in February but allowed boaters to continue accessing their skiffs from the water, which the municipality leases from the Crown and then subleases to Kadin Equities Ltd., the marina’s owner.
But because the owner will not comply with any of the orders to fix the dilapidated docks, effective Sept. 30, the district is breaking that sublease.
During a recent inspection, West Vancouver assistant fire chief Jeff Bush noted the main beam supporting the gangway and the docks below is completely rotted out and cracked with just one bolt holding the entire dock structure. The marina has no lighting and some of the docks are tied together with garden hose. Several slips are listing or have overturned and partially sunk. The deck surfaces have missing or loose boards and are littered with trip hazards – various timber pieces, wires and hoses.
“Those wires were not only loose, they were live,” said Donna Powers, District of West Vancouver spokeswoman. “The dock simply had crumbled and tilted into the water. The pieces of the dock simply had broken off. There was just all kinds of safety issues.”
District staff have issued numerous bylaw infraction tickets, none of which have been paid, Powers said. There have also been numerous re-inspection charges from the West Vancouver fire department, and more than 10 tickets for operating without a business licence, all of which remain unpaid, according to Powers.
“We’ve made numerous requests and we’ve granted numerous deadline extensions and none of these safety concerns have been addressed. Through the whole process, council has been aware of the infraction notices and the requests from our legal department and our facilities department and our fire department,” Powers said. “There is support from council. It’s just something we have to do because public safety is simply overriding all other choices.”
Kadin Equities has until Sept. 30 to come remove all of the dilapidated docks. If they don’t, the district will have to hire contractors to do the work at taxpayers’ expense.
Under the sublease agreement, the district collects four per cent of the gross revenue West Vancouver Marina brings in, which amounted to approximately $10,000 a year for the foreshore access, half of which was remitted to the province.
The district is now trying to track down the owners of all the boats to make sure they know about the Sept. 30 deadline. As of mid-July, about 29 boats were still moored at the marina. But finding a new dock will be difficult for evicted yachtsmen.
Former slip renter Eric Blouin said he stored his boat on dry land while looking for a new place to moor, but with waiting lists at local marinas of more than a year, he was forced to sell his pleasure craft.
Powers acknowledged the difficulties this has produced for the boat owners.
“You have to go farther afield and really only dry dock storage is available. We really do regret the inconvenience,” Powers said. “That’s one of the big problems. This is a marine community. There’s a lack of moorage. We understand that that’s an issue but at this point, the safety issues override that. We tried very hard to have the safety concerns fixed so the moorage can remain. It’s the operator who just wouldn’t do it.”
Kadin Equities’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.
The company’s directors are Joe, Edith and Jan Carhoun. Corporate records list a British Properties mansion as their mailing address. The home on Whitby Road was last assessed at $4.6 million.