LONG SAULT – A sailboat, anchored near an upscale island community for several years, is causing concern for at least one resident.
But government officials say there’s no environmental threat from the boat, which looks like it’s seen better days, even though steps are being taken to remove it.
“Borrowed Time” is anchored at the east shore of Mille Roches Island and can be seen from the Moulinette Island Causeway as well as homeowners along the west shore of Moulinette Island.
The boat has a Cornwall registration on its stern but, according to Transport Canada’s registration system, the boat hasn’t been registered since 2011.
“I don’t think it has been abandoned. It’s anchored and has a generator on board,” resident Jeff McCormack said in a Facebook message. “It’s starting to show real neglect. It’s only a matter of time before it starts to take on water and sink? At which time it becomes an environmental issue.”
McCormack said the boat has been there for at least three years.
As to who has jurisdiction, the vessel is in an area owned by Ontario Power Generation because it was land before the flooding of the seaway. It doesn’t fall within the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.
But Coast Guard spokesman Carol Launderville said they are aware of the sailboat.
“Our Environmental Response program advises there is no evidence of pollution coming from the vessel,” Launderville said. “The Canadian Coast Guard is working with partners including Transport Canada, Ontario Provincial Police and Ontario Power Generation which owns the section of riverbed where the sailboat is anchored.”
OPG is not overly concerned about the boat but they are taking steps.
“The vessel has been in the vicinity for several years and different authorities tell us the vessel poses no threat to the environment or public safety. We’ve tried to contact the owner and according to Transport Canada it is the owner who has ultimate responsibility to remove the vessel. We are reviewing what the possible next steps are,” OPG spokesman Neal Kelly said in an email to Cornwall Newswatch.
“OPG is going through the motions right now of getting him (the owner) to remove it, or they’re (OPG) going to remove it, so we’re leaving it alone,” said Orson Martinez, a spills response specialist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, in a November 2018 phone interview. Martinez said the owner doesn’t live in the area.
As of last week, the boat is still there, encased in ice.