Go Slow in Pender Canal

May 15, 2007

The Pender Canal separates North and South Pender islands in British Columbia’s Gulf Islands, and connects Bedwell Harbour and Port Browning. The channel is narrow, with a dogleg turn near the south end. The canal is crossed by a bridge with 27 feet of clearance at high water, which keeps most sailboats out. The following item describes erosion to the banks of the canal, which appears to be reaching critical levels.

FROM THE INTER-AGENCY CANAL CONSERVATION COMMITTEE of the PENDER ISLANDS, B.C.

Dear Yacht Club members and recreational boaters planning to visit the Pender Islands in British Columbia:

WE ARE REQUESTING ASSISTANCE from the boating community to help control the erosion of the canal banks between North and South Pender Islands.

The increase in boat traffic, speed, wake and tidal action over the years has severely eroded a sensitive ecological and heritage area. The banks and trees are being washed into the waterway between the Islands. Some of the banks on the south side have receded up to 25 feet and on the north side archeological artifacts are being lost.

We do not have control over tidal action and winter storm surges but we all have control over speed and wake as we pass through this area. In addition, as boat traffic continues to increase we have growing concerns for the safety of smaller vessels, kayaks and dinghies.

You will see new speed signs to slow down to 5 knots. Due to strong currents, this is sometimes difficult but at least be aware of your ‘wake’ and its effect on the surrounding environment. Please slow down well before you enter either approach to the canal.

Put a brake on your wake for the sake of the canal!

Thank you all for your help.

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