It is quite a long way from the ocean, and there is no other body of water nearby that would explain how a 27 foot boat wound up on a rural logging road in Hilliers.
Illegal dumping has been a long-standing concern for the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) and this recent case has resulted in some investigative work by RDN's Zero Waste Compliance Officer. Maude Mackey is trying to track down the owner of the boat recently dumped near the Melrose Road area of Electoral Area F. Mackey said the boat, called Marybeth, has been completely stripped and there are no reports of it being stolen and the registration number isn't traceable. She is hoping someone knows something about the vessel and will lead her to who is responsible for dumping it.
"Hopefully someone will recognize it when they see the photo of it," she said.
She admitted this isn't the first boat that has been discarded illegally, but it certainly is the biggest.
Mackey said in her job she has heard just about every excuse for why things have wound up dumped in the bush, but in this case there is no way it could have fallen off the back of a truck.
"Considering how big it is it would have taken quite an effort to get it there," she stated.
She said she has no idea what the motivation behind the boat dumping is, and until she knows what the circumstances are surrounding this case she can't say if charges will be laid.
Under RDN Bylaw No. 1386, those who generate, deliver or abandon waste illegally can be subject to a fine of up to $200,000.
She said for now the RDN just wants voluntary compliance of the by-law.
Although it represents a tiny amount of the total solid waste generated in the region, illegally dumped material can have serious effects on the environment, wildlife habitat and the ability of others to use and enjoy outdoor recreational areas.
She said illegal dumping is an ugly blight on the landscape with many unseen impacts and, historically, people who dump things in the back-40 are people who live near a landfill.
She said anyone who needs to get rid of large items can take it to the Church Road Transfer Station at 860 Church Road in Parksville. The facility is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Sunday.
If anyone has information that could lead Mackey to the culprits who dumped the Marybeth in Hilliers, she can be reached at 250-390-6576.