British Columbia

Cowichan Bay residents fed up with anchored freighters

Residents of Cowichan Bay are hoping their peace and quiet will be restored soon, after years of having as many as eight freighters at a time anchored nearby because of backlogs at Port Metro Vancouver.

Peter Holmes is hopeful changes will reduce the number of anchorage sites in Cowichan Bay

There are eight anchorage sites near Cowichan Bay, and residents say the number of ships to come through has increased in the past five years. (Peter Holmes)

Residents of Cowichan Bay are hoping their peace and quiet will be restored soon, after years of having as many as eight freighters at a time anchored nearby because of backlogs at Port Metro Vancouver.

The ships use the anchorages on the southeast coast of Vancouver Island when they are unable to get into anchorage sites closer to Vancouver.

"Twenty-four hours a day they are drumming out their sound, and then during the daytime, quite early in the morning, they'll start clanging and banging around and making sounds on the deck there," Peter Holmes, the president of the Cowichan Bay Ship Watch Society told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

A freighter sits just outside a residence in Cowichan Bay, B.C. near Victoria and the Southern Gulf Islands. (Peter Holmes)

"Residents have ended up having to put curtains up in the windows, put pillows over their heads, put covers over the eyes, moved to other rooms — the noise from the generators and the lights coming in have just been excessive."

Holmes moved to Cowichan Bay in 2001, and said the freighters weren't an issue until 2009.

Residents, including Holmes, met with representatives with the B.C. Chamber of Shipping, the Pacific Pilotage Authority and Transport Canada, and are hopeful things will change soon.

"They were very reasonable and very co-operative. They're actually proposing, in the future, some changes, where they're going to eliminate potential two ships here and create some newer anchorages elsewhere in the islands," he said.

"There are other areas where they use anchorages but we've requested that they use ours last and they are trying to do that."

Holmes said he isn't sure how long it could take for those changes to be made.

To hear the full interview with Peter Holmes, click the audio labelled: Cowichan Bay freighters.

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