It’s not quite war on the high seas, but tension has been building in False Creek.
It comes as more and more paddlers, including big ticket organized events like the Dragon Boat festival take to the waves in the heart of the city – only to come into conflict with boat owners who’ve legally moored there.
Tomorrow the city will weigh moving towards a solution: banning moorage from a part of the creek.
Ann Phelps, General Manager of the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival, says she hopes that means a no-go zone east of the Cambie Bridge.
“We won’t have to spend a lot of time publicizing ahead of time that we need boats to get off the race course we get a permit but it only allows us to use the space it isn’t exclusive, and so its very difficult and its really become much more difficult this year.”
Phelps says the vast majority of paddlers’ interactions with boat owners has been positive, but even then they often aren’t home – meaning their vessel could be in the way on race day, with no way of getting in touch.
But she says there have also been less friendly interactions.
“We experienced a couple of boat owners who said they have a permit and they didn’t want to move. And there was nothing we could do about it. We had to change the race course to suit the needs of one person.”
WATCH: Close call between Dragon Boaters and charter in False Creek
In recent weeks, one charter boat drove through the middle of the course during an active race. The VPD later confirmed it was looking into whether any laws were broken.
Dragon Boaters have also created a petition calling for a no-anchoring zone which has attracted about 1,700 signatures.
False Creek is under the direction of Transport Canada, but managed by the City of Vancouver which has actively supported paddling activities in the area.
Those include throwing support behind the creation of a home for the “greater paddling community,” and spending $3.2 million on a paddling centre in south east False Creek.
If the city moves forward, staff will work with the Ministry of Transportation to look into the moorage-free zone,