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Malcolmson understands concerns with sinking former warship as artificial reef

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The former chair of the Islands Trust says she understands why some people are upset that a plan to turn an old warship into an artificial reef has been approved.

A Federal Court judge has ruled the Artificial Reef Society of BC can sink the former HMCS Annapolis off Gambier Island, after the group Save Halkett Bay challenged the environmental permit. They were concerned about contaminated paint of the hull. The judge upheld the permit, saying opponents missed the boat on challenging it. The ARSBC says they’re happy, and Save Halkett Bay doesn’t intend to appeal the decision.

Sheila Malcolmson says the Islands Trust has long been opposed to creating artificial reefs.

Malcolmson is running for the NDP in the riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith in the next federal elections. She says many people question whether sinking decommissioned warships to create artificial reefs is really a responsible choice.

She says she understands why some people are skeptical about whether the federal government’s toxicity regulations are strong enough.

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The Annapolis was supposed to sunk off Gambier Island in Halkett Bay in mid-January, but the court challenge delayed the project. It’s now unclear when that will happen. The ARSBC missed a key deadline and now needs to prove the sinking won’t disrupt herring or salmon spawning in order to get special permission from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

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